Clinton Portis, Former NFL Players Plead Guilty to Defrauding Insurance Plan

Clinton Portis, the previous star working again in Washington and Denver, and two different former N.F.L. professionals pleaded responsible for his or her roles in a wide-ranging effort to defraud a well being care profit program for retired gamers, the Justice Department introduced Tuesday. Portis and Tamarick Vanover pleaded responsible on Friday, whereas Robert McCune, a ringleader of the scheme, entered his plea on Aug. 24.

In all, 15 folks have pleaded responsible to collaborating in a plan to defraud the Gene Upshaw N.F.L. Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which repays former gamers for out-of-pocket medical care bills up to $350,000.

The N.F.L. declined to remark. The N.F.L. Players Association didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

According to courtroom paperwork, Portis submitted fraudulent claims for almost $100,000 in medical tools that was by no means delivered. Vanover recruited three different former N.F.L. gamers and helped them file false claims for nearly $160,000 complete.

McCune, the Justice Department stated, orchestrated the fraud, which included submitting about $2.9 million in false claims, for which the plan paid out about $2.5 million between June 2017 and April 2018.

Cigna, the insurance coverage firm that administers the plan, detected claims for costly medical tools that raised alarms. According to Portis’s plea deal, a declare from January 2018 included Portis and McCune looking for reimbursement of $44,732 for a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. In one other, from March 2018, they requested for a reimbursement of $54,532 for a cryotherapy sauna. Portis, the plea deal stated, was “aware of a high probability that the claims McCune submitted on his behalf were false and fraudulent and deliberately ignored that fact.”

Portis and Vanover pleaded responsible two days after jurors of their case couldn’t attain a verdict, and a mistrial was dominated on among the counts in opposition to Vanover. A retrial had been scheduled to start this week.

The two former gamers will likely be sentenced in January and every face up to 10 years in jail, however will most definitely obtain far much less, primarily based on sentencing pointers.

Jeffrey Darling, a lawyer who represents Vanover, stated in an interview that his shopper determined to plead responsible regardless of the hung jury within the first trial, as a result of jurors had voted 11 to 1 to convict. In a second trial, “we might not have been able to pull it off again,” Darling stated.

Darling stated Vanover admitted in a settlement that he had supplied the private info of three former N.F.L. gamers to Reche Caldwell, one other former participant who labored with McCune to file faux claims. However, “the government was unable to produce any evidence at trial that Mr. Vanover personally facilitated the filing of the claims or that he received any money himself,” Darling stated in a written assertion.

Portis’s lawyer declined to remark.

McCune pleaded responsible in the beginning of the trial to all the costs he confronted, together with a number of counts of well being care fraud, wire fraud and aggravated id theft. He will likely be sentenced on Nov. 19 and will face what quantities to a life sentence, if all the costs in opposition to him are included.

Five different former N.F.L. gamers have been indicted, together with former New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn. His son Jaycee, a cornerback, was drafted within the first spherical in April by the Carolina Panthers.

Horn and 11 different defendants charged within the case pleaded responsible to conspiracy to commit well being care fraud. One of them, Caldwell, died in June 2020.

Portis, 40, was by far the very best identified of the gamers. Drafted within the second spherical in 2002 by the Denver Broncos, he was voted Offensive Rookie of the Year. He performed 113 video games in Denver and Washington and retired in 2010.

McCune, 42, was drafted in 2005 and performed eight video games at linebacker for Washington and the Baltimore Ravens.

Vanover, 47, was drafted in 1995 by Kansas City. He performed 77 video games at receiver for Kansas City and the Chargers.

All of the boys have been initially charged in December 2019.