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DOJ accuses football players of health care fraud

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced it will pursue charges against ten former players for the National Football League (NFL). The government has accused these professional athletes of partaking in a scheme to file false and fraudulent claims for medical equipment.

Who did the DOJ charge with these crimes?

According to a recent news release from the DOJ, the agency has charged Robert McCune a former Raven, John Eubanks and Clinton Portis, former players for the Redskins, Correll Buckhalter a former Eagle, Joseph Horn a former Saint and Donald “Reche” Caldwell who played for the Chargers and Patriots.

What are the charges?

The DOJ has charged the players with the following:

  • Health care fraud.
  • Wire fraud.
  • Conspiracy.

The government claims the accused fraudulently filed for reimbursement from the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health reimbursement Account Plan. The NFL established the plan to help former teammates pay for medical expenses. Former players can file for coverage on expenses like those incurred when purchasing medical equipment. In this case, the DOJ says the players filed claims for reimbursement for equipment they never purchased.

Will the government build a successful case?

The DOJ will need to provide evidence to support these claims. According to the news release, the agency has accused the players of putting together fraudulent documents to support the false claims. If the DOJ can prove the accused fabricated these documents, they may have a successful case.

What can others learn from this case?

This case provides an example of the broad reach of health care fraud charges. Anyone that is filing a claim for payment in these types of situations can be accused of health care fraud. As such, those who find themselves the subject of an investigation are wise to act to protect their interests.

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