Eighteen former Nationwide Basketball Affiliation gamers have been indicted on costs they participated in a conspiracy to defraud an N.B.A. well being care plan of practically $4 million, the federal authorities stated on Thursday.
The scheme lasted from no less than 2017 via final 12 months and concerned the submission of fraudulent claims for reimbursement of medical and dental companies that had not truly been supplied, based on a federal indictment unsealed in Manhattan.
For essentially the most half, the 18 former gamers charged within the scheme performed within the N.B.A. within the late Nineties and the 2000s. Two of essentially the most notable are Ronald Glen Davis, nicknamed “Massive Child,” and Tony Allen, each of whom performed on the Boston Celtics workforce that received the N.B.A. championship in 2008.
Mr. Allen, now 39, was one of many league’s finest defensive gamers throughout his profession and is scheduled to have his number retired by the Memphis Grizzlies, the place he performed seven seasons, subsequent 12 months.
Others charged included promising prospects whose careers didn’t attain the heights that had been anticipated, together with Darius Miles and Sebastian Telfair, each of whom had been drafted out of highschool.
The indictment stated that one of many former gamers, Terrence Williams, who performed for the New Jersey Nets and the Houston Rockets, had orchestrated the scheme and recruited different former gamers by providing to produce them with false invoices to help their fraudulent claims. The indictment costs that Mr. Williams additionally acquired $230,000 in kickbacks within the scheme.
The conspirators submitted claims totaling $3.9 million, and so they finally acquired about $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds, based on the indictment.
The costs had been introduced in New York on Thursday at a information convention held by Audrey Strauss, the U.S. legal professional for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the pinnacle of the F.B.I.’s New York workplace.
Ms. Strauss stated that the investigation was ongoing.
A number of of the gamers charged performed no less than a part of their profession for New York-area groups, together with Shannon Brown with the Knicks, and Mr. Williams, Antoine Wright and Chris Douglas-Roberts with the Nets.
Others gained fleeting situations of fame, like Milton Palacio, who in 2000 hit a memorable buzzer beater towards the Nets, and Ruben Patterson, who was stated — perhaps apocryphally — to have known as himself the “Kobe Stopper,” for his purported potential to decelerate the Los Angeles Lakers celebrity Kobe Bryant.
Mr. Telfair, a cousin of the previous N.B.A. star Stephon Marbury, graced journal covers as top-of-the-line highschool gamers within the nation when he performed at Brooklyn’s Lincoln Excessive Faculty within the early 2000s. However he was dogged by authorized troubles associated to weapons throughout his skilled profession, which included early stints with the Portland Path Blazers and the Celtics.
In 2008, Mr. Telfair pleaded responsible to unlawful handgun possession and was sentenced to 3 years probation. In 2019, he was sentenced to three.5 years in jail for gun possession, this time stemming from an arrest two years earlier, when he was discovered with four loaded guns and a bulletproof vest.
Sopan Deb contributed reporting.