Clinton Portis self-surrenders in North Carolina in NFL health program fraud case, DOJ says
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 5 DC) - Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis has self-surrendered to authorities in North Carolina after being charged in an alleged scheme to defraud the National Football League’s health care program for retired players, according to officials.
The Department of Justice confirmed to FOX 5 that Portis “self-surrendered earlier today and will make an initial appearance today in Charlotte, N.C.”
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Portis was indicted along with former Redskins player Carlos Rogers, and other NFL players Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, and Etric Pruitt.
The government said it is also intending to charge Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The scheme targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan for reimbursement, which was established in 2006 to provide tax-free reimbursement of medical expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their wives and any dependents.
Running back Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins carries the ball during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin /Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Ima
More than $3.9 million in fraud were submitted to the plan and more than $3.4 million was paid out between June 2017 and June 2018, according to charging documents.
The scheme involved submissions of fake claims that involved expensive medical equipment ranging between $40,000 and $50,000 for each claim, officials said. The medical equipment included “hyperbaric oxygen chambers, cryotherapy machines, ultrasound machines designed for use by a doctor’s office to conduct women’s health examinations and electromagnetic therapy devices designed for use on horse.”
McCune, Eubans, Vanover, Buckhalter, Rogers and others allegedly recruited other players into the scheme by offering to submit the false claims for kickbacks and bribes, officials said. The bribes and kickbacks ranged from a few thousand dollars to up to $10,000 per claim.
The former players would allegedly fabricate supporting documentation for the claims. McCune and Buckhalter would allegedly call a telephone number provided by the plan and impersonated players in order to check the status of the fraudulent claims.
Portis' lawyer released the following statement to FOX 5 on Thursday evening:
“Clinton Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement insurance program was illegal. He is completely taken aback by the indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni.”