Miami Hurricanes

Hurricane Great Portis Among 10 Ex-NFLers Charged With Defrauding Health Care Program

Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan

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Ten former NFL players including Miami Hurricane great Clinton Portis have been charged with defrauding the league’s health care benefit program, the Justice Department said Thursday.

They include five former players on the Washington Redskins, including Portis and Carlos Rogers.

Prosecutors allege 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 Justice Department alleges the players submitted nearly $4 million in false claims to the plan, resulting in over $3.4 million being paid out between June 2017 and December 2018.

Court papers allege Portis and seven other players submitted claims to be reimbursed for expensive medical equipment. But prosecutors allege they had never purchased or received the medical equipment.

The indictment filed in federal court in Kentucky alleges they fabricated letters from health care providers about using the medical equipment, fabricated prescriptions that were purportedly signed by healthcare providers and created fake invoices from medical equipment companies in an effort to prove the equipment was purchased.

Portis, 38, won a National Championship with the Hurricanes in 2001 and was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Redskins and Denver Broncos.

Also charged are Donald “Reche” Caldwell, a former Florida Gator and NFL player from 2002 to 2008, and Tamarick Vanover, a former Florida State University Seminole who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.

"This investigation serves as an illustration of the rampant and deliberate scams against health care plans occurring daily throughout the country," said FBI Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the Miami Field Office. "In this case, these fraudsters pocketed money from the Gene Upshaw National Football League Health Reimbursement Account Plan that was intended for former NFL players who are ill or infirm. Over 20 FBI field offices participated in this investigation which demonstrates the level of commitment we have to rooting out this type of fraud."

Associated Press and NBC 6
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