Not by the Playbook

Stethoscope on 100 dollar bills symbolizing financial surveillance

Professional football is a high-risk sport and can be really rough on professional players’ health. (America’s favorite sport has been known to increase the risk of head injuries, dementia, high blood pressure, broken bones, and lots of joint aches and pains as players age.) That’s probably why The Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan (the Plan) was established. Unfortunately, this health care benefit program for retired NFL players was scammed by 15 former NFL players. (I bet that wasn’t in the playbook.)

The Plan was established to provide tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance, and that were incurred by former NFL players, their spouses, and their dependents, up to a maximum of $350,000 per player. Clinton Portis, 40, of Riverdale, Ga., and former Washington running back ended up with a six-month prison sentence for trying to collect health care benefits from the Plan that he didn’t deserve.

Court documents show that Portis, who spent seven years in Washington, and two with Denver, submitted false claims to the Plan over two months. He received $99,264 in benefits for very expensive medical equipment that was never provided.

Somewhere along the line, Portis made a series of bad investments while spending extravagantly. Those behaviors led to him declaring bankruptcy in 2015. (I’m guessing that’s where the health care scheme idea came up.) 

It’s interesting to note that Portis was the highest-paid running back in the NFL in 2004, earning more than $43 million across his 9-year career. (Perhaps in addition to providing these retired professional players with health care insurance, the NFL may want to consider providing financial planners to help players to avoid losing their money so they don’t have to turn to fraud to survive.) A total of 15 former NFL players have pleaded guilty in connection with this health care fraud scheme. In addition to the six-month prison sentence, Portis will also serve six months of home detention.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Former NFL RB Clinton Portis jailed for health care fraud,” published by on January 9, 2022.

FORT MILLS, S.C. (WNCN) – Former Washington running back Clinton Portis has been sentenced to federal prison for defrauding the NFL’s health care plan for retired players.

Portis, who spent seven years in Washington, and two with Denver, was sentenced by a federal judge in Kentucky this week after he pleaded guilty.


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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.