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Former New Jersey Net Terrence Williams Pleads Guilty to Defrauding NBA Health Plan. Submitted Claims Totaling $5M

By Chris Dolmetsch

 A former National Basketball Association player admitted leading a scheme to defraud the league’s health care plan by making false claims for medical and dental expenses.

Terrence Williams

Terrence Williams, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, pleaded guilty on Friday before a federal judge in Manhattan to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud as well as aggravated identity theft.

The former New Jersey Net was one of more than dozen people charged in October with defrauding the plan, including notable former NBA players such as Sebastian Telfair, Darius Miles and Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Prosecutors said Williams orchestrated the plan and received kickbacks totaling at least $300,000, according to an indictment made public in Manhattan federal court Thursday.

Prosecutors said the conspirators in the NBA scheme submitted false claims totaling at least $5 million. Telfair, Miles and Davis have all pleaded not guilty.

Williams, 35, of Seattle, agreed to pay restitution of $2.5 million and forfeit nearly $654,000. He faces a a minimum mandatory sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge and as much as 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charges when he sentenced on Jan. 25. 

Prosecutors said Williams recruited other participants of the plan and gave them false invoices provided by a dentist in California, a doctor in Washington state and several non-medical professionals. Williams personally created fake letters of medical necessity that had grammatical errors, unusual formatting and misspellings, according to court documents. 

The alleged scheme is similar to one in which former National Football League players, including former Washington running back Clinton Portis, were charged in 2019. Portis and the other ex-players were accused of cheating an NFL health-care program by faking the purchase of expensive medical equipment like hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ultrasound machines. 

Williams also created email accounts that he used to threaten other co-defendants – and a witness following his arrest, prosecutors said. 

The case is U.S. v. Williams, 21-cr-00603, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com.

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