A group of 10 former National Football League players faces charges alleging that the players had a key role in a high-profile health care fraud scheme involving the league’s health care benefits program. Per ABC News, 10 former players from several different league teams are facing a litany of allegations and charges, with some players facing health care fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy charges, among others.
The charges, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, come in the wake of an investigation that began after a major health care company alerted authorities about several anomalies it saw in claims filed by former NFL players.
Allegations made by the U.S. Department of Justice assert that the former NFL players accepted bribes and kickbacks in exchange for submitting claims for especially valuable medical equipment, including ultrasound machines, cryotherapy machines and hyperbaric oxygen chambers. The allegations further claim that the former players created fabricated invoices, prescriptions and similar documentation to receive those kickbacks and bribes, which ranged in value from a few thousand dollars to as much as $10,000.
The allegations assert that the former NFL players defrauded the Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which is a private health care plan available to retired football players. Authorities allege that all players facing charges committed the fraudulent acts within the same recent 18-month period.
If the 10 former NFL players currently facing health care fraud charges wind up receiving convictions for those charges, they could potentially face highly serious penalties. In addition to potential fines and other financial repercussions, each player facing charges runs the risk of having to spend between 10 and 20 years behind bars, if convicted.
Authorities and government regulators are ramping up their efforts to identify and prosecute those who commit crimes involving fraud, and this particular case offers continued evidence of their efforts. High-profile earners and others across Texas and the nation may be subject to additional scrutiny as a result.