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Former Memphis Grizzlies star Tony Allen pleads guilty to one count in NBA health care fraud scheme

According to the court records, Tony Allen pleaded guilty to one count and will be sentenced on Aug. 8, 2023.
Credit: AP
Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Friday, March 31, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former Memphis Grizzlies star Tony Allen, 'The Grindfather,' has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, according to court documents.

Allen, along with his wife and 17 other former NBA players, including former Grizzlies player Tony Wroten and former Tigers player Christopher Douglas-Roberts, were indicted in October of 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York announced at the time.

According to the court records, Tony Allen pleaded guilty to one count and will be sentenced on Aug. 8, 2023. He reportedly will face little to no jail time.

Court records show prosecution has been deferred for Allen’s wife Desiree, for six months under supervision, and according to the order, if she complies, ‘”no further prosecution will be instituted in this District” for the offense.

ABC24 reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice for further information on the status of the cases against Wroten and Douglas-Roberts.

Nineteen people, 18 of them former NBA players, were indicted on charges of defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan out of about $4 million, according to an indictment in New York.

In a news conference announcing the indictments, federal prosecutors said the ex-players engaged in a widespread scheme to defraud the plan by submitting false and fraudulent claims to get reimbursed for medical and dental expenses that were never actually incurred. Watch the news conference HERE.

Read the full indictment HERE.

Others indicted include Terrence Williams, Sebastian Telfair, Glen "Big Baby" Davis, Darius Miles, Alan Anderson, Shannon Brown, Will Bynum, Melvin Ely, Milton Palacio, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Greg Smith, Charles Watson, and Antoine Wright.

The indictment said that the scheme was carried out from at least 2017 to 2020, when the plan received false claims totaling about $3.9 million. Of that, the defendants received about $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.

According to the indictment, the scheme developed after Terrence Williams - who began his career as a first-round NBA draft pick in 2009 - submitted $19,000 in fraudulent claims to the plan in November 2017 for chiropractic care. The claims led to a $7,672 payout for Williams.

The indictment said he then recruited other former NBA players to defraud the plan and offered to provide fraudulent invoices from a chiropractor and dentist in Southern California and a wellness office in Washington state.

At least 10 of the ex-players paid kickbacks totaling about $230,000 to Williams, according to the court papers.

Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy in August 2022.

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