Tony Allen, Chris Douglas-Roberts among former NBA players charged in fraud scheme
Former Memphis Grizzlies standout Tony Allen and Memphis Tigers All-American Chris Douglas-Roberts were among 18 former NBA players charged Thursday in a multi-million dollar health insurance fraud scheme involving NBA's Health and Welfare Benefit Plan.
The players allegedly participated in the scheme from at least 2017 to 2020 by submitting fake reimbursement claims for medical and dental services that were not rendered, according to an unsealed federal indictment obtained by The Commercial Appeal.
The claims totaled about $3.9 million and the defendants received about $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.
Also named in the indictment were Allen's wife Desiree and former Grizzlies players Darius Miles and Tony Wroten. NBA champions Glen Davis and Shannon Brown also were named.
Each of the players were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud. Fifteen of the 18 players were in federal custody as of early Thursday afternoon, and the investigation is ongoing, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Allen and Douglas-Roberts are not in custody but Desiree Allen was among those arrested.
Prosecutors claim Terrence Williams, who played four seasons in the NBA, orchestrated the scheme by creating false invoices for all of the players for a chiropractic office and two dental offices in California, in addition to a wellness office in Washington. In return, Williams received approximately $230,000 in kickbacks from at least 10 players connected with the scheme, prosecutors said.
Miles paid $33,000 to Williams on or about March 27, 2019, according to court records.
Allen and Douglas-Roberts were not named among the players who paid Williams, but Allen did receive $265,000 in reimbursement for chiropractic services and $155,075 for dental services. Douglas-Roberts received $117,123.24 in reimbursements for chiropractic services.
Prosecutors said Allen, along with Wroten and Davis, reported having endodontic therapy on the same six teeth on April 30, 2016, and crowns on the same six teeth on May 11 that year.
Allen and Wroten also reported to have crowns on the same 12 teeth on Oct. 2, 2018, but in each instance the players were not in California on the date of the visit, according to court records.
Allen's claims were reviewed by a board of trustees overseeing the NBA's healthcare plan, and the board concluded that Allen's claims should not have been approved. The claims were retroactively denied and Allen was advised to repay all money he received. Allen repaid $350,075 of the $420,075 he owed.
The indictment did not state whether Douglas-Roberts paid back his reimbursements. However, it states Williams in February 2019 used an email account to assume the identity of an administrative manager employee to falsely raise "a potential issue with Douglas-Roberts' reimbursement in an effort to frighten Douglas-Roberts into re-engaging with Williams."
Miles, who played 34 games with the Grizzlies in 2008-09, received $344,140 in reimbursements and did not pay them back, according to the indictment.
The Grizzlies did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
The initial status conferences in the case will be held after Oct. 25 in New York at the Thurgood Marshall United Stated Courthouse. By Oct. 15, the federal government must arrange seven groupings of defendants - five groups of three, two groups of two - due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting conferences to three defendants at a time.
Allen signed with the Grizzlies in 2010 and played seven seasons for the Grizzlies, helping them reach the playoffs in each season.
Wroten played four seasons in the NBA after being selected by the Grizzlies with the No. 25 pick in the 2012 draft. He played one season in Memphis before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Douglas-Roberts played three seasons at the University of Memphis under John Calipari. He helped the Tigers reach the 2008 national title game and was a second-round draft pick of the New Jersey Nets.
Court documents: 18 former NBA players indicted in fraud scheme
This story is developing and will be updated.
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