NBA: 18 former players charged in $ 4 million fraud

Eighteen former NBA players were charged with defrauding the league’s health and wellness benefits plan of about $ 4 million, according to an indictment Thursday in New York.

Federal prosecutors had a news conference scheduled for noon ET Thursday to describe the case that was filed in federal court in Manhattan. Late in the morning, 16 of the defendants were in custody, authorities said.

According to the indictment, the former basketball players conspired to defraud the plan by submitting false and fraudulent claims in order to receive reimbursements for medical and dental care they never received.

The 18 players are among the 19 indicted individuals. It was noted that the scheme ran at least between 2017 and 2020 when the plan received false claims totaling nearly $ 3.9 million. Of that, the defendants pocketed about $ 2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.

Among the defendants was Tony Allen, a six-time All-Defensive team selected and a member of the 2008 Boston Celtics champion team, along with his wife. For the most part, though, ex-players had indiscreet careers for various teams and never came close to the massive stardom or salary that top players have.

Another former player accused was Sebastian Telfair, a former high school star in New York who was highly promoted when he turned pro, although his NBA career with eight franchises never brought him the stardom some had hoped for.

The defendants included four NBA champions. Glen Davis, along with Allen, was part of that 2008 champion team in Boston, Shannon Brown won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Melvin Ely won a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

Among the other defendants, Tony Wroten, Ruben patterson and Darius miles they were the only ones who averaged double digits in their NBA career.

Wroten averaged 11.1 points in 145 career games. Patterson averaged 10.7 points per game with six teams. Miles, the third pick in the 2000 draft, averaged 10.1 points per game while playing with four franchises.