NBA

Former NBA players arrested after $4M health insurance fraud

NBA title-winner Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Tony Allen are among the accused of the fraud scheme. US Attorney accuses Terrence Williams of being the "scheme's linchpin".

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18 former NBA players arrested after $4M health insurance fraud
Shannon Stapleton REUTERS

Eighteen veteran NBA players, including ex-Celtics players Glen Davis and Tony Allen, were charged with fraud of nearly $4 million regarding NBA's Health and Welfare Benefit Plan Thursday.

By midday today, sixteen out of the eighteen were held in custody.

Defendants

  • Milt Palacio
  • Sebastian Telfair
  • Antoine Wrihgt
  • Darius Miles
  • Ruben Patterson
  • Eddie Robinson
  • Gregory Smith
  • Glenn Davis
  • Jamario Moon
  • Terrence Williams
  • Alan Anderson
  • Tony Allen
  • Shannon Brown
  • William Bynum
  • Melvin Ely
  • Christopher Douglas-Roberts
  • Tony Wroten

Desiree Allen, wife of Tony Allen was also charged.

Terrence Williams, "alleged ringleader"

US Attorney, Audrey Strauss, accuses Terrence Williams of being the "scheme's linchpin", while she confirmed earlier today the defendants face a count of conspiracy to commit "fraud and deception", which they will have to explain in court.

"They will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law," she said.

Prosecutors in New York also accuse Williams of submitting invented claims to the NBA's health insurance in exchange for at least $230,000 in briberies. 

The players tried to defraud $3.9 million, however, just $2.5 million was paid out before they got caught.

Lies have no legs

The scheme was, from the beginning, a chronicle of a death foretold, in part due to the defendants' clumsy work, according to officials.

Lots of the claims they made didn't make any sense, such as Houston Rockets' Smith's claims regarding IV sedation. It just took a bit of searching to find out that the dates didn't add up. Smith alleged he received root canal and crowns in Beverly Hills on Dec. 20, 2018, but authorities found out due to "travel records and publicly available box scores" that on that day he was playing in Taiwan's Super Basketball League.

The official indictment revealed that other claims just vastly stood out as they included "different letterhead, formatting, and in some cases, grammatical errors."

The tip of the iceberg

Despite having arrested all eighteen players, the case is not done yet. A couple of months ago, a similar situation was uncovered involving three ex- NFL players-- Clinton Portis, Tamarick Vanover, and Robert McCune-- who admitted their fraud attempt to the NFL insurance.

There are so many coincidences between both NFL and NBA cases, that makes it sound as if this could just be the beginning of a much wider picture, the tip of the iceberg.