Another former NFL player pleads guilty in health-fraud scheme

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In federal court in Lexington this week, a former NFL player pleaded guilty to his role in a health-fraud scheme, bringing to twelve, the number of former pro players who have admitted guilt in the case, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The report says former Auburn and NFL cornerback Carlos Rogers pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of conspiring to defraud a program set-up to reimburse former players for out-of-pocket medical expenses.  He’s scheduled to be sentenced in March, according to the report.

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The report says the program was established in 2006 to reimburse eligible former NFL players for medical expenses not covered by insurance.  NFL teams finance the program.

Rogers is one of 15 former NFL players charged in the case, which dates back to last December, according to the report.

The U.S. Justice Department says the former players submitted nearly $4 million in false claims, according to the Herald-Leader report.

No former player charged in the case lives in Kentucky.  The reason the case is in federal court in Lexington is because the fraudulent claims were processed through an insurance data center in the city, according to the report.

In his plea deal, Carlos Rogers acknowledged he helped recruit other former players to join the scheme, including Correll Buckhalter, who was paid by other former players to submit claims, according to the report.

In addition to Rogers and Buckhalter, the other former players who have pleaded guilty in the case include John Eubanks, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Fredrick Bennett, Etric Pruitt, Antwan Odom, Anthony Montgomery, Darrell Reid, Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell, according to the report.  Caldwell was shot and killed this summer an an apparent robbery attempt before being sentenced, according to the report.

The only former player to be sentenced thus far is Ceandris Brown, who received 12-months and one-day in jail and was ordered to repay $84,777 to the health fund, according to the report.

The other former players who were charged and await trial in April are Robert McCune, Tamrick Vanover and Clinton Portis, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Carlos Rogers’ plea document hints that there are other former NFL players who were involved in the scheme, who have not yet been charged, according to the report.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.