Several retired NFL players, including a former Super Bowl-winning cornerback who played college ball at Georgia Tech, have been charged with defrauding the NFL’s health care benefit plan.
James Butler, who played for the champion New York Giants in 2007, was among those charged, according to an indictment unsealed in Kentucky on Thursday.
Etric Pruitt, a sixth-round NFL draft pick who played for the Atlanta Falcons as a defensive back in 2004, was also indicted.
One of the indictment’s most prominent ex-players is former Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis, who played for the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos. Others included former Redskins linebacker Robert McCune; and Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown and John Eubanks.
In the U.S. Justice Department’s release, Butler is identified as an Atlanta resident, while the department said McCune lives in Riverdale, Georgia. The department also said it plans to bring charges against Joe Horn, the all-time leading receiver for the New Orleans Saints.
The former players are charged with submitting fraudulent health care claims of more than $3 million for medical equipment including hyperbaric oxygen chambers, women’s ultrasound machines and electromagnetic therapy devices used on horses. Court records allege the equipment was never purchased.
The alleged scheme lasted from June 2017 to December 2018, according to the indictment.
Butler was a four-year letterman at Bainbridge High School in South Georgia. According to Georgia Tech’s Hall of Fame website, Butler was a two-time first-team All-ACC selection and two-time member of the ACC All-Academic Football Team.
In 2007, Butler and the Giants made the NFL playoffs as a wild-card team and beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. The Giants then upset the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Butler played for the Giants from 2005 to ’08, then signed as an unrestricted free agent with the then-St. Louis Rams, where he played from 2009 to ’12.
Butler was inducted into Tech’s football Hall of Fame in 2014.
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