FORT MILL, S.C. (WJZY) – Clinton Portis, a former NFL running back, will soon report to federal prison for six months. Portis was sentenced by a federal judge in Kentucky this week after he pleaded guilty to defrauding the league’s health care plan.
At one point in 2004, Portis became the highest-paid running back in NFL history. After nine years playing with the Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team, and career earnings of more than $43 million, Portis fell into deep financial trouble.
A combination of bad investments and extravagant spending lead to Portis declaring bankruptcy in 2015. And that’s when the health care scheme came into play. He is one of 15 NFL players charged with ripping off the league’s health care plan.
According to authorities, the former players admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan (the Plan).
The Plan was established in accordance with the NFL’s 2006 collective bargaining agreement and provided for tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance, and that were incurred by former players, their spouses, and their dependents – up to a maximum of $350,000 per player, authorities said.
According to court documents, Portis caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to the Plan on his behalf over a two-month period, collecting $99,264 in benefits for expensive medical equipment that was not actually provided.
Along with the jail time, he’s been ordered to repay nearly $100,000.
Another South Carolina resident, former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, pleaded guilty to the same fraud in 2019.
In October, 18 former NBA players were arrested by the FBI. According to federal investigators, it was textbook fraud. The retired players would submit false medical claims to the health care plan and never receive treatments.
The NBA players are all set to be back in court in May. A trial date for them hasn’t been set.