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Feds Charge More Retired NFL Players In $3.4 Million Health Fraud

Darrell Reid
Darrell Reid Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall (Wikipedia)

Three more former NFL players, one of them from the Jersey Shore, were among several who federal authorities said illegally collected $3.4 million in a massive health care scam.

Darrell Reid, 38, of Farmingdale, who played linebacker for the 2007 Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts, was among the three additional players named in a U.S. District Court indictment.

The others are former Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom, 38, of Irvington, Alabama and Anthony Montgomery, 36, of Cleveland, who played defensive end for the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins.

The defendants are accused of tapping into the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan.

Established in 2006 through a collective bargaining agreement, the fund provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses for former players and their wives and dependents not covered by insurance.

More than $3.9 million in false and fraudulent claims were submitted to the plan, which paid out more than $3.4 million between June 2017 and December 2018, federal authorities said.

The defendants filed bogus claims to the plan for unnecessary medical equipment that they never bought or received – including 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 horses, FBI Miami Field Office Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro said.

McCune, Vanover, and others “recruited other players into the scheme by offering to submit or cause the submission of false and fraudulent claims in exchange for kickbacks and bribes that ranged from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more per claim submitted,” Piro said.

“As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly fabricated supporting documentation for the claims, including invoices, prescriptions and letters of medical necessity,” he added.

The claims averaged $40,000 to $50,000 each, Piro said.

A dozen former National Football League players originally were charged last December in U.S. District Court in Kentucky with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud.

They included former Redskins and Broncos running back Clinton Portis, 38, of Fort Mill, South Carolina and former Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Charges wide receiver and kick returner Tamarick Vanover, 46, of Tallahassee, Florida.

The most charges were filed against Robert McCune, 41, of Riverdale, Georgia, Who played a few seasons in the Canadian Football League after brief stints with the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and the Washington, D.C. team.

In addition to 10 counts of wire fraud, federal authorities charged McCune with 12 counts of health care fraud. They added three counts of aggravated identity theft against McCune in the recent indictment.

Since authorities filed the initial charges, seven defendants have taken guilty pleas to conspiring to commit health fraud in exchange for leniency at sentencing. They are: Correll Buckhalter, James Butler, Joseph Horn, Etric Pruitt, Ceandris Brown, John Eubanks and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, who died in June.

Brown was sentenced last months to a year and a day in federal prison. Sentencings for the others are pending.

The FBI investigation included contributions from several field offices throughout the U.S., including the Newark Field Office.

Trial Attorneys John (Fritz) Scanlon, Alexander J. Kramer and Thomas J. Tynan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul C. McCaffrey and Andrew E. Smith of the Eastern District of Kentucky are prosecuting the cases. 

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