September 28, 2020
Eight former NFL players and a Houston-area athletic trainer have been indicted in a scheme to defraud an NFL player trust fund by submitting false claims for medical benefits, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Monday.
The scheme was investigated by the fraud unit of the Texas Department of Insurance in coordination with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
“This fund was created to help former players get medical services, and cheating the system means they were stealing from other players and former teammates,” Ogg said. “Investigating and seeking justice for white-collar criminals takes time, effort and cooperation among agencies, and we want to thank them for uncovering this scheme.”
The eight players are accused of submitting false reimbursement claims for therapy by Louis Ray, an athletic trainer and owner of Rehab Express, a Galleria-area rehabilitation facility.
Ray, who surrendered Monday morning to the 228th District Court, is accused of creating fraudulent invoices claiming to perform treatments on players from March 7, 2016 to November 2018. The players would then sign and submit forms to be reimbursed by the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Plan, a health-reimbursement account. The players are accused of pocketing the reimbursement money and paying Ray for signing and verifying the fake invoices.
Medical records show that 92 claims were submitted claiming reimbursements totaling $723,826 with Ray allegedly receiving payments totaling $112,972.
Ray and the eight players were indicted Friday by a Harris County grand jury for varying degrees of the felony offense of Securing the Execution of a Document, namely checks, by Deception. The level of offense and the possible punishment is based on the amount alleged to have been stolen.
Louis Ray, 59, was indicted for the first-degree felony of Securing the Execution of a Document by Deception, for taking checks valued at more than $300,000.
Corey Bradford, 44, was indicted for the second-degree felony of Securing the Execution of a Document by Deception, for taking checks valued at more than $150,000 and less than $300,000.
James Adkisson, 40, Jonathan Hadnot Jr., 38, Clint Ingram, 37, Shantee Orr, 39, Chadwick Slaughter, 42, and Fabian Washington, 37 were each indicted for the third-degree felony of Securing the Execution of a Document by Deception for taking checks valued at more than $30,000 and less than $150,000.
Derrick Pope, 38, was indicted for the state-jail felony of Securing the Execution of a Document by Deception for taking checks worth more than $2,500 and less than $30,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Rick Watson, a special assistant district attorney assigned to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Financial Crimes Division by the Texas Department of Insurance.
“Health insurance scams are insidious because that kind of fraud leads to higher premiums for everyone else,” Watson said. “Not only does it increase the rates, but it costs a lot of taxpayer money to investigate these.”
Chris Davis, head of the Texas Department of Insurance’s Fraud Unit, said there’s no substitute for being based in local district attorney’s offices.
“This case is an example of the work our investigators and prosecutors do every day, going after fraud at all levels of the insurance system” Davis said. “Being in the local prosecutors’ offices allows us to bring our expertise in uncovering these crimes.”