18 former NBA players were charged Thursday with pocketing about $2.5 million illegally by defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan in a scam that authorities said involved claiming fictitious medical and dental expenses.
“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said at a news conference after FBI agents across the country arrested 15 former players and one of their wives after an alleged three-year conspiracy that authorities say started in 2017.
According to Strauss, former baller Terrence Williams was considered the scheme’s ringleader, which involved players submitting fake reimbursement claims for medical and dental services they never received.
In addition to Williams, players involved include Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Tony Allen, Sebastian Telfair, Shannon Brown, and Darius Miles.
According to the grand jury indictment, the defendants participated in a widespread scheme from 2017-2020. The submitted fraudulent claims totaled $3.9 million — $2.5 million of which was paid out to the former players. Williams allegedly came up with the idea and created fake invoices for other defendants. Investigators say he received kickbacks totaling at least $230,000 from the other ex-players.
The scheme was uncovered, in part, because of the sloppy work of the defendants, authorities said.