While National Football League players are often known to receive large salaries, some struggle with sustainable income after leaving active play. Ten former NFL players are facing criminal charges, accusing them of defrauding a health care program for former professional football players. The 10 men are charged with submitting false claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. This plan was created due to the 2006 NFL collective bargaining agreement. It provides reimbursement, free of tax liabilities, for out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses for former NFL players, their spouses and their dependents. Each player could claim up to $350,000 in expenses.
The 10 players are accused of submitting over $3.9 million in fraudulent medical claims to the plan between June 2017 and December 2018. Of the allegedly false claims, $3.4 million was paid out to the players. The federal fraud charges against the former players say that the 10 men set up a scheme to extract money from the benefits plan. They are accused of submitting documents claiming that they needed to buy costly advanced medical equipment, and they received the funds for these items. However, the equipment was allegedly never purchased, and the players are accused of walking away with the funds received.
In two indictments, the 10 players are accused of being involved in conspiring together to defraud the benefits plan. They are facing multiple counts of wire fraud and health care fraud in relation to the false claims levied against the benefits program.
Benefits programs that are impacted by fraud may wind up short of resources to pay out legitimate claims while those responsible walk away with money gained illegitimately. Companies affected by fraud may pursue criminal complaints, but they may also work with a business attorney to seek civil accountability for their losses.