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Former NBA player Terrence Williams, the ringleader of a scheme to defraud the NBA’s health plan, pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, the Department of Justice announced Friday.
“Williams led a scheme involving greater than 18 former NBA players, a dentist, a health care provider, and a chiropractor, to defraud the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Profit Plan of thousands and thousands of dollars,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Latest York Damian Williams said in a statement. “Williams also impersonated others to assist him take what was not his — money that belonged to the Plan.”
Federal authorities in October charged 18 former NBA players with defrauding the league’s health-care plan out of at the least $5 million. From 2017 through 2020, in line with the indictment, the players submitted phony invoices to the NBA’s health profit plan for reimbursements for services they never received from a chiropractor’s office, two dental offices and a “wellness office” that specialized in “sexual health, anti-aging, and general well-being.”
Williams, 35, was a 2009 lottery draft pick who spent 4 years within the NBA before an prolonged profession overseas. Working with a dentist in California and a health care provider in Washington state, Williams created fake invoices and fabricated doctor’s letters he circulated to the opposite former players in exchange for kickbacks, in line with the indictment. The Justice Department said administrators of the health care plan and federal law enforcement caught several red flags, including doctor’s letters containing grammatical errors and misspelled patient names. Among the players within the scheme submitted invoices for treatment they claimed they received once they were out of state and even in a foreign country, the indictment said.
Williams recruited several players, including Sebastian Telfair, 37, a former player with the Portland Trail Blazers and 7 other teams from 2004 to 2013, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis, 36, who led LSU to the Final 4 in 2006 before an NBA profession with the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers.
Williams was also found to have impersonated others, as he did on one occasion when he created an email account designed to resemble that of a health plan administrative manager, in line with the indictment. Through the account, Williams allegedly tried “to frighten” a co-defendant into paying him a kickback.
While on pretrial release earlier this yr, Williams was remanded for texting threats to a witness.
Conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Williams’s one count of aggravated identity theft carries a compulsory minimum sentence of two years in prison. As a part of his guilty plea, the previous Louisville standout agreed to pay $2,500,000 in restitution to the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Profit Plan. Williams, who may even forfeit $653,672.55, is scheduled for sentencing in January.