May 29, 2019
A former NFL player was convicted of stealing $105,000 from an NFL player trust fund and sentenced to ten years of probation, as well as ordered to repay the stolen money, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday.
Jameel Antwon Cook, 40, submitted false claims for medical benefits from the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Plan, a health-reimbursement account, according to court documents filed by the District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Texas Department of Insurance’s Fraud Unit.
“He stole from the very fund his fellow former players depend on for help,” Ogg said. “And he has now fallen from professional football glory to the ranks of felons.”
Between March 2016 and September 2017, Cook submitted 30 claims to the plan, according to documents filed by Special Assistant District Attorney Jason Horn.
Most of the claims were for compensation for insurance premiums, which Cook claimed to have paid for himself or his family. The account is for reimbursing former players for certain medical expenses and out of pocket health-insurance premiums.
“He earned fame and great accolades in a career most could only dream of, and should have been role model,” Horn said. “Instead, he let down everyone around him by defrauding a plan set up for all players and taking money that wasn’t his.”
Cook pleaded guilty in the 176th District Court to Securing the Execution of Documents by Deception, a third-degree felony.
In addition to ten years of probation and having to pay back the $105,000, he was sentenced to 160 hours of community service and fined $1,200.