Abroad group of former NBA players have been charged in a federal court in New York for defrauding the league’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan out of almost four million dollars.
There are 18 former players named in the indictment, including the alleged mastermind of the operation Terrence Williams, the New Jersey Nets’ 11th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Six-time member of the best NBA defensive team Tony Allen, Shannon Brown, Glen Davis, Sebastian Telfair and third pick in the 2000 draft, Darius Miles, were also charged, according to NBC.
Amongst them was also Alan Anderson, who played in several NBA teams such as the Nets, Toronto Raptors or Los Angeles Clippers and played in Europe for Maccabi Tel Aviv and Barcelona, as well as Antoine Wright, who also spent a year at Estudiantes where he became famous after registering a -19 PIR in one game; William Bynum, Melvin Ely, Christopher Douglas-Roberts, Tony Wroten, Milt Palacio, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Gregory Smith, and Jamario Moon.
“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters. “They will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law.”
Strauss said Williams, 34, a Seattle native who spent four seasons in the NBA, was the “scheme’s linchpin,” submitting false claims to the league’s health care plan.
He was accused of supplying false invoices to support the fraudulent claims in exchange for kickback payments that totaled at least $230,000, authorities said.
Prosecutors alleged that when one player didn’t pay Williams, he called the co-defendant pretending to be a plan administrator and said there was a problem with the claim.
Strauss said the hope was to “frighten the player into re-engaging with Williams,” who was also hit with an aggravated identity theft charge in connection with the call.
In total, the defendants submitted $3.9 million in fake claims, and $2.5 million was paid out, officials alleged.
The scheme was uncovered, in part, because of the sloppy work of the defendants, authorities said.