Nearly two years after being indicted on fraud charges, former NFL running back Clinton Portis is among three ex-players who have pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide scheme targeting a healthcare benefit program for retired NFL veterans. As the U.S. Department of Justice announced this week, the longtime Washington standout faces up to 10 years in prison for the charges, which allege he wrongly obtained nearly $100,000 as part of a ring that sought $2.9 million through false reimbursement claims.
Portis, 40, a two-time Pro Bowler who began his career with the Broncos and spent seven of his 10 seasons in Washington, pleaded guilty alongside former Chiefs return specialist Tamarick Vanover and former linebacker Robert McCune, who allegedly orchestrated the scheme. The NFL's Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account, established in 2006 to help retired players cover medical expenses, provides up to $350,000 in benefits per player. Court documents, however, indicate Portis submitted false and fraudulent claims for medical equipment that was not actually provided.
The nationwide scheme made approximately $2.9 million in false claims, per the Department of Justice, resulting in the retirement plan paying out approximately $2.5 million on those fraudulent claims between 2017-2018. As for Portis, who made headlines with a federal bankruptcy filing in 2015, the former running back is scheduled to be sentenced for his role on Jan. 6.
Fifteen different former NFL players have now pleaded guilty in the case. Along with Portis, Vanover and McCune, the following retired veterans are among the others facing charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud: Former Saints receiver Joe Horn, former Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter, former Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers, former Giants safety James Butler, former Titans defensive end Antwan Odom, and former Patriots receiver Reche Caldwell, who was fatally shot in June 2020.