Two former NBA players convicted over roles in health care fraud

By Reuters for NBC News

A federal jury in New York City on Wednesday convicted two former NBA players over their roles in a scheme to defraud a league health care plan into paying millions of dollars for bogus medical procedures.

Glen Davis, 37, who played for three NBA teams and won a championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics, was convicted on four counts including wire fraud, health care fraud, conspiring to commit fraud, and conspiring to make false statements.

Will Bynum, 40, who played for three teams including the Detroit Pistons, was found guilty of conspiring to make false statements, but acquitted on a fraud conspiracy charge.

The trial began on Nov. 1.

Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, in a statement said the convictions show that “despite notoriety or success in sports or any other field, no one is exempt from criminal charges if they engage in fraud.”

Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer for Davis, declined to comment.

Bynum’s lawyer Victor Henderson said in a statement: “We are pleased that the jury acquitted Mr. Bynum of the first count and plan to explore all aspects relating to the second count.”

At least two dozen people including 19 former NBA players, a dentist, a doctor and a chiropractor were implicated in the fraud scheme, with charges first announced in October 2021.

Prosecutors said at least $5 million of false claims were submitted, with the defendants receiving $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds and the ringleader, former NBA player Terrence Williams, getting kickbacks.

Examples of the alleged fraudulent medical procedures included Davis and another player receiving crowns on the same six teeth on the same day, and Davis receiving crowns on eight teeth in Beverly Hills though he was in Nevada.

Bynum, meanwhile, was accused of receiving about $182,000 on a fraudulent claim related to a chiropractic office in Encino, California, and paying Williams a $30,000 kickback.

Williams, who played with the New Jersey Nets and three other teams, pleaded guilty over his role last year. He was sentenced in August to 10 years in prison.

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