Eighteen former NBA players have been indicted and accused of defrauding the league’s health and benefits plan of nearly $4 million, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. The former players were charged with conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud.
The scheme lasted from about 2017 through 2020 when the former players allegedly submitted false and fraudulent claims for reimbursement for medical and dental services that were never rendered, according to the indictment.
Terrence Williams, a former New Jersey Nets player, allegedly orchestrated the scheme and recruited other former players by supplying them fake invoices to support the fraudulent claims, federal prosecutors said. The indictment alleges that Williams was paid more than $230,000 in “kickbacks” for the fake invoices.
He was also charged with aggravated identity theft for allegedly impersonating a health plan employee and threatening players who did not pay him a “kickback.”
Williams, who the Nets drafted 11th overall in 2009, was arrested in Washington state, federal authorities said. An additional 15 of the named defendants are currently in police custody
“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” Audrey Strauss, the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York, said in a news conference Thursday. “Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners, their alleged scheme has been disrupted and they will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law.”
A total of 19 people were charged in the alleged scheme, including Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. Anthony Allen, who earned a ring alongside Davis with the Celtics, was also charged. The Memphis Grizzlies planned to retire Allen’s No. 9 jersey later this year.
His wife, Desiree Allen, is the only non-player named in the indictment.
The other players indicted included Darius Miles and Sebastian Telfair, both of whom were drafted to the NBA out of high school. Other well-known players included Shannon Brown, William Bynum, Jamario Moon and Antoine Wright.