Clinton Portis was among three former NFL players who have pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide scheme to defraud a health care program for retired NFL players, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.
The 40-year-old Portis, a former running back who was drafted by the Broncos in 2002 and spent the bulk of his career with Washington, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 6.
The alleged scheme targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was set up in 2006 to help retired players cover medical expenses.
According to court documents, Portis caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to the plan on his behalf over a two-month period, obtaining $99,264 in benefits for medical equipment that was not actually provided.
Portis, who earned two Pro Bowl selections during an NFL career that spanned from 2002 to 2010, and former wide receiver Tamarick Vanover, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud on Friday, two days after their trial resulted in a hung jury. Both Portis and Vanover agreed to pay full restitution to the Upshaw Plan.
The 47-year-old Vanover, who played for the Chiefs and Chargers from 1995 to 2002, obtained $159,510 in benefits for medical equipment that was not actually provided and also faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 22.
A retrial for Portis and Vanover had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Former NFL linebacker Robert McCune, the third defendant in that trial who played for Washington and the Ravens from 2005 to 2008, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, 13 counts of health care fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft on the second day of the trial.
According to the Justice Department, the 40-year-old McCune orchestrated the nationwide scheme, which submitted $2.9 million in fraudulent claims being submitted to the Upshaw Plan with $2.5 million being paid out. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, 10 years for each count of health care fraud, 20 years for each count of wire fraud and two years for each count of aggravated identity theft.
Portis was one of 10 former NFL players charged in December 2019 with allegedly defrauding the health care program of more than $3.4 million by filing false claims for hyperbaric oxygen chambers and other expensive medical equipment.
A total of 15 people have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.
Reuters contributed to this report.