Update: Ex-NBA player Terrence Williams was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in defrauding the NBA’s health plan out of $5 million.
Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
He was among 18 retired NBA players indicted in 2021. The former Celtics player was out on bond following his indictment, but he was taken into custody in 2022 for threatening a witness.
According to the U.S Attorney’s Office, Williams texted the witness that he was “talking way to[o] f—–g much,” and that he needed to “shut the f–k up.”
Williams was accused of recruiting other retired players who filed fraudulent medical claims from 2017 to 2020, CBS Sports reported.
Former NBA center Gregory Smith submitted false claims for a root canal and crowns on Dec. 20, 2018 in Beverly Hills. However, Smith wasn’t in California at the time of the dental work. He was playing for Taiwan’s Super Basketball League.
Williams reportedly impersonated a health plan employee and threatened other retired NBA players if they didn’t pay him a “kickback” of $300,000, according to CBS Sports.
The fraud was eventually discovered due to discrepancies in paperwork, CBS News reports.
Williams earned $7 million during his 4 years in the NBA. He played for four NBA teams and earned a total of $254,000 in his last 2 seasons.
Originally published on: Aug 4, 2023 at 09:22 AM:
Former NBA player Terrence Williams was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for stealing $5 million from the NBA’s health care plan.
A federal judge said Williams, 36, used his people skills to lure others to join his scam after he “frittered away” $7 million in earnings during his NBA career.
Williams, of Seattle, pleaded guilty to health care and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, ESPN reports.
He was ordered to forfeit more than $650,000 and to pay $2.5 million in restitution.
Williams was charged with recruiting doctors to help him fleece the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan by submitting fictitious medical claims between 2017 and 2021. His $5 million profits were generated with the help of a dentist in California and doctors in California and Washington state, ESPN reports.
Before the sentencing, Williams fought back tears and blamed “stupidity and greed” for his crimes. He regretted that his incarceration will keep him from his six children.
U.S. District Court Judge Valerie E. Caproni told Williams he turned to a life of crime rather than seek gainful employment after his NBA career ended.
“You were yet another player who frittered away substantial earnings from the period of time when you were playing basketball professionally,” Caproni told him. “You should have had enough money to be set for life, but you don’t.”
As for his NBA earnings, Judge Caprioni said: “My guess is it was just frittered away on stupid stuff.”
While serving time in prison, Williams is required to participate in a program that teaches him how to manage his money.
The health care fraud case also resulted in criminal charges against 18 former NBA players, according to ESPN.