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10 ex-NFL players charged with defrauding healthcare program

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten former NFL players were charged in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud the league’s health care benefit program by submitting false claims for medical equipment, including devices used on horses, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The players were charged in two separate indictments filed in federal court in Kentucky, accusing them of conspiracy, wire fraud and healthcare fraud. Prosecutors allege they submitted nearly $4 million in phony claims, leading to payouts of about $3.4 million between June 2017 and December 2018.

Those charged include five former players on the Washington Redskins, including Clinton Portis and Carlos Rogers.

Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

“As outlined in the indictments, a group of former players brazenly defrauded the plan by seeking reimbursements for expensive medical equipment that they never purchased,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.

Four of the suspects, McCune, Rogers, John Eubanks and Ceandris Brown, were arrested Thursday morning by the FBI. Six others had agreed to surrender: James Butler, Fredrick Bennett, Etric Pruitt, Tamarick Vanover, Portis and Buckhalter.

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