Terrence Williams pleads guilty in scheme to defraud NBA health plan

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Former NBA player Terrence Williams, the ringleader of a scheme to defraud the NBA health care plan, has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit health care and fraud electronically, the Department of Justice announced on Friday.

“Williams led a scheme involving more than 18 former NBA players, a dentist, physician and chiropractor, to defraud the multimillion-dollar NBA Players Health and Wellness Benefits Plan,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian. Williams said in a statement. “Williams also impersonated others to help him take what was not his – money that belonged to the regime.”

In October, federal authorities charged 18 former NBA players with defrauding the league’s health care plan out of at least $5 million. From 2017 to 2020, according to the indictment, the players submitted false bills to the NBA Health Benefits Plan for reimbursement for services they never received from a chiropractor’s office, two dental offices and a “wellness office” specializing in “sexual health, anti-aging and general well-being.

Williams, 35, was a 2009 lottery draft pick who spent four years in the NBA before a long overseas career. Working with a dentist in California and a doctor in Washington state, Williams created fake bills and fabricated doctor’s letters which he distributed to other former players in exchange for bribes, according to the deed. of accusation. The Justice Department said health care plan administrators and federal law enforcement detected several red flags, including letters from doctors containing grammatical errors and misspelled patient names. Some of the actors on the show submitted bills for treatments they claimed to have received while out of state or even out of the country, according to the indictment.

Williams has signed several players, including Sebastian Telfair, 37, a former player for the Portland Trail Blazers and seven other teams from 2004 to 2013, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis, 36, who led LSU to the Final Four in 2006 before an NBA career 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 an administrative director of a pension plan. health, according to the indictment. Through the account, Williams allegedly tried to “scare” a co-defendant into paying him a bribe.

While on bail earlier this year, Williams was remanded into custody for texting threats to a witness.

Conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Williams’ single count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison. As part of his guilty plea, the former Louisville star agreed to pay $2,500,000 in restitution to the NBA Players Health and Welfare Benefits Plan. Williams, who will also lose $653,672.55, is due to be sentenced in January.

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