3 former Washington NFL players hit with charges in health care fraud case

Three former Washington NFL players have been hit with charges for their alleged roles in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud the NFL’s health care benefit program by submitting false claims for medical equipment.

The fresh charges are part of a new Justice Department indictment released Friday that supersedes a previous indictment filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky in 2019.

Clinton Portis, 38 (Washington running back 2004-2010), Robert McCune, 41 (Washington linebacker from 2005-2006; Ravens 2007-2008), and Anthony Montgomery, 36 (Washington defensive tackle 2006-2009), are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud.

Portis and Montgomery were also each charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of health care fraud. And McCune now faces three counts of identity theft.

Three other former NFL players were charged in Friday’s indictment as well: Darrell Reid, 38, Antwan Odom, 38, and Tamarick Vanover, 46.

Portis, McCune and 10 other former players had previously been accused of conspiracy, wire fraud and health care fraud. The new indictment adds Reid, Odom and Montgomery.

Federal prosecutors allege the players submitted nearly $4 million in phony claims, leading to payouts of about $3.4 million between June 2017 and December 2018.

Prosecutors say the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established as part of a collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

The players claimed to have purchased hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ultrasound machines and electromagnetic therapy devices that were designed to be used on horses, Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in December 2019.

Accusations include fabricating letters from health care providers about using the medical equipment, fabricating prescriptions that were purportedly signed by healthcare providers and creating fake invoices from medical equipment companies in an effort to prove the equipment was purchased, according to court documents. In reality, they had never purchased or received the medical equipment, prosecutors said.

According to the Justice Department, seven of the players have entered guilty pleas since the initial indictment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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