Former NBA star pleads guilty to defrauding league’s $5 million health insurance plan [New York Daily News] – InsuranceNewsNet


A former NBA star pleaded guilty on Friday to serving as a kingpin in a sprawling scheme that defrauded the league’s health insurance plan. $5 million.

Terrence Williams35, a first-round pick of Louisville who spent six seasons in the NBA with the Nets, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kingsand Boston Celticsadmitted to providing his teammates with fake invoices to submit bogus claims in exchange for massive bribes between 2017 and 2021.

Williams is one of 18 former NBA players, including Coney Island Sebastien Telfairwho prosecutors indicted in October for collecting shady payments for medical and dental services they never received.

The National Basketball Players Health and Welfare Plan provides services to current and former players and their families.

“Williams led a scheme involving more than 18 former NBA players, a dentist, doctor and chiropractor, to defraud the multi-million dollar NBA Players Health and Wellness Benefits Plan. Williams also impersonated others to help him take what was not his – money that belonged to the regime,” said WE Lawyer Damien Williams.

Williams, of Seattle, Washington.was taken into the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons while on bail in May after prosecutors accused him of threatening a witness in the case.

He reportedly emailed an anonymous witness to say they were “talking[o] F[—]lot” and warned them to “close the f[—]get up. In another missive, he said, “I’m spitting in your face, that’s exactly what you’ll see,” according to federal authorities.

In pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the retired Boston Celtic admitted to receiving approximately $230,000 in bribes. Among those he recruited were doctors California and Washingtonwho sent her medical bills from their offices to fill with lies.

According to the federal government, the scheme orchestrated by Williams was not sophisticated, with participants often making little effort to make the fake documents look real. Forged doctors’ letters submitted to the NBA’s health care plan were often riddled with typos, presented on pages without headers, and had misspelled names.

In other slip-ups, players were mistaking fake injuries and billing for services in states during times the NBA knew they hadn’t traveled.

Williams is the sixth person charged in the indictment to reach a plea deal with prosecutors. The justice department charged everyone but him with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Telfair, of Brooklyn, maintains his innocence with two others.

Prosecutors have charged three medical professionals – William Washington, Cleon Doolingand Aamir Wahab – a doctor, a basketball guard and a dentist, respectively, in a replacement indictment in April.

Williams is back in court for his sentencing on January 25 and faces up to 20 years on the top count. His plea deal also requires him to pay for the NBA health care plan. $2.5 million and lose more $653,000 to the government. His lawyer david stern did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Two NBA representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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