Eighteen former NBA players were arrested in an alleged scheme to defraud the basketball league’s health benefits plan, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced on Thursday.
Federal prosecutor said that the group of NBA veterans submitted nearly $4 million worth of false invoices for medical and dental work that they never received. Between 2017 and 2020, the fund paid out roughly $2.5 million to the defendants, according to the indictment.
The scheme was allegedly orchestrated by Terrence Williams, a once-promising prospect on the New Jersey Nets, who left the league after just four years.
Among the best known defendants are Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Tony Allen, both of whom played on the Celtics 2008 NBA Championship team.
Ex-Nets players Antoine Wright, Chris Douglas-Roberts, CJ Watson, and Alan Anderson, along with Sebastian Telfair, a high school star in New York and the cousin of Stephon Marbury, were also arrested. Anthony Allen, another member of the 2008 Celtics’ team, and his wife were named in the complaint as well.
Williams allegedly received $230,000 in kickbacks from the players in exchange for providing fraudulent invoices for services such as dental surgery and chiropractic visits. The plan paid out as much as $320,000 in payments to some players, prosecutors said.
The scheme was uncovered after federal prosecutors confirmed that some players were out of the country at the time they were purportedly attending medical and wellness appointments.
Some of the players also provided invoices suggesting that they had identical dental work on the same teeth on the same dates, prosecutors said.
At least 16 of the defendants were in custody as of Thursday morning, according to U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. Telfair will be presented in New York court, while the rest are expected to appear in other jurisdictions.
“They will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law,” Strauss said.
It was not immediately clear if the players had lawyers representing them.
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