10 ex-NFL players charged with defrauding healthcare program

10 ex-NFL players charged with defrauding healthcare program
FILE - This Sept. 12, 2010, file photo shows Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis before the start of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, in Landover, Md. Ten former NFL players have been charged with defrauding the league’s healthcare benefit program. They include five who played on the Washington Redskins, including Clinton Portis and Carlos Rogers. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten former NFL players have been charged with defrauding the league’s health care benefit program, the Justice Department said Thursday.

They 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 was established as part of a collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It 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.

The Justice Department alleges the players submitted nearly $4 million in false claims to the plan, resulting in over $3.4 million being paid out between June 2017 and December 2018.

Court papers allege Portis and seven other players submitted claims to be reimbursed for expensive medical equipment. But prosecutors allege they had never purchased or received the medical equipment.

The indictment filed in federal court in Kentucky alleges they fabricated letters from health care providers about using the medical equipment, fabricated prescriptions that were purportedly signed by healthcare providers and created fake invoices from medical equipment companies in an effort to prove the equipment was purchased.