Former New Jersey Nets player Terrence Williams was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday for orchestrating a scheme to steal $5 million from the National Basketball Association’s health care plan.
Williams, 36, admitted in August 2022 to orchestrating the plot, in which he enlisted 18 former ballplayers to defraud the NBA’s health and welfare benefits plan which provides additional coverage for former players and to retirees.
In addition to the hefty prison sentence handed down by Manhattan federal judge Valerie Caproni, the former Nets shooter must also pay more than $3.1 million in restitution and forfeitures.
From 2017 to 2021, Williams and the co-defendants – who also include doctors and a dentist – allegedly submitted false bills, filled with typos and inconsistencies, to the health plan for reimbursement of medical and dental expenses for care that never happened, prosecutors said.
William, of Seattle, Washington, recruited other retired hoopsters and gamers to make fraudulent medical claims by offering to give them bogus bills – which he had obtained from shady health care providers, the authorities said. prosecutors.
In exchange for coordinating the scam, Williams received $346,000 in bribes, federal authorities said.
Williams posed as insurance company employees to email the co-defendants and scare them into continuing the scheme and sending him more bribes, federal authorities alleged.
For example, Williams told a co-defendant to pay him a “fine” or risk being flagged for the fraudulent bills, prosecutors claimed.
And after Williams was arrested and released without bail in October 2021, he sent threatening text messages to a witness telling them they were “talking in a way[o] f-king a lot” and demanding that they “shut the fk up,” federal authorities alleged.
Following the threat, Caproni jailed Williams without bail.
Manhattan US Attorney Damiam Williams called the former professional basketball player’s actions “brazen”.
“Williams carried out a grand plan to steal millions of dollars from the NBA Players Health and Wellness Benefits Plan,” the U.S. attorney said.
“Williams recruited medical professionals and others to expand his criminal conspiracy and maximize his ill-gotten gains,” the prosecutor said. “Williams not only lined his pockets with fraud and deception, but he also stole other people’s identities and threatened a witness to continue his criminal activities.”
Another player believed to have been involved in the scheme was Coney Island-raised Sebastian Telfair. The players’ combined earnings during their time in the NBA were $360 million.
Williams’ criminal defense attorney did not return a request for comment Thursday.