18 former NBA players were charged in New York federal court for a health insurance fraud scheme involving the league’s health and welfare benefit plan. According to the grand jury indictment, the defendants engaged in a scheme lasting from at least 2017 up to around ’20, which sought to defraud the NBA’s benefit plan by submitting fake reimbursement claims for medical and dental services that were never actually rendered. Those fraudulent claims totaled about $3.9 million. Of that, the defendants received about $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.
Terrence Williams allegedly orchestrated the scheme, and recruited others to participate by offering them fake invoices to support their false health plan claims. Other former players reportedly included in the scheme were Sebastian Telfair, Darius Miles, Glen Davis, Shannon Brown, Will Bynum, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jamario Moon and Tony Allen and more. Allen’s wife, Desiree Allen, is the only woman and non-player charged in the indictment. Current Trail Blazers assistant coach Milt Palacio was put on administrative leave by the team after being one of the 18 players arrested. In the indictment, Williams is accused of receiving kickback payments totaling at least $23,000 in return for providing the false documentation. He also allegedly impersonated an individual who processed plan claims at one point.
The NBA said in a statement: “The benefit plans provided by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association to our players are critically important to support their health and well-being throughout their playing careers and over the course of their lives which makes these allegations particularly disheartening. We will cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this matter.”