The government continues to crackdown on the commission of health care fraud throughout the country. In a recent case, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will expand the number of former National Football League (NFL) players it will take to court in a current health care fraud case.
According to the government, a group of former NFL players were involved in a nationwide health care fraud scheme. The prosecution claims the professional athletes filed fraudulent claims for payment from the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, a plan that was put together after the 2006 collective bargaining agreement to provide tax-free reimbursement for former players, wives and dependents. The agreement created a plan that could pay out up to $350,000 per player. Ultimately, the government claims the group filed claims to cover the cost of expensive medical equipment that was never purchased, let alone delivered to an intended recipient. Ultimately, the DOJ claims the players fraudulently received more than $3.4 million.
The case began when one of the insurance providers that works with the program, Cigna, noticed a large number of claims for expensive medical equipment. This triggered an investigation that led to further questions, ultimately prompting the insurance company to reach out to the DOJ. The DOJ gathered evidence to support the allegations and accused the players of filing false claims in exchange for kickbacks and fraudulent payments. The accused include 12 former NFL players, including Darrell Reid, Antwan Odom and John Eubanks. The DOJ recently announced it would pursue additional criminal charges against Clinton Portis, Robert McCune and Anthony Montgomery. Charges include aggravated identity theft, unlawful use of the identity of another person, health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.