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Ex-NFL players charged over alleged multimillion-dollar healthcare scam

Ex-NFL players charged over alleged multimillion-dollar healthcare scam
Several former NFL players have been charged with fraud in connection with the league healthcare benefit plan for purchases of medical rehabilitation equipment.

Former Washington Redskins All-Pro running back Clinton Portis is the biggest name involved in the case that includes nine other former NFL players. Two grand jury indictments accuse the players of defrauding the benefit plan out of more than $3 million.

The benefit plan was originally established to help former NFL players with out-of-pocket healthcare payments for long-term injuries and health issues suffered as a result of playing professional football.

The players who are accused of scamming the plan reportedly submitted claims for expensive medical equipment that was never purchased. Those claims included hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ultrasound machines for an average of $40,000 to $50,000 per item.

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"Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses," Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement, per CNN.

The other defendants include:

Robert McCune, Washington Redskins

John Eubanks, Washington Redskins

Tamarick Vanover, Kansas City Chiefs

Ceandris "C.C." Brown, Houston Texans

James Butler, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams

Fredrick Bennett, Houston Texans

Etric Pruitt, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks

Carlos Rogers, Washington and San Francisco 49ers

Correll Buckhalter, Philadelphia Eagles

Additional players are also under investigation.

The healthcare benefits plan was implemented in 2006 in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

This alleged scam has the potential to do quite a bit of damage to players suffering from legitimate health crises that have resulted from their playing careers. Those players, who suffer from physical and emotional damage incurred during their time in the NFL, often have huge medical bills that result from their treatment.

If those funds are usurped by seemingly healthy former players, the benefit plan could be in jeopardy.