Terrence Williams, a former NBA player who served as the ringleader of a scheme to defraud the league’s health and welfare benefit plan out of approximately $5 million, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday.
According to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, Williams will also face three years of supervised release, a forfeit of $653,672.55 and $2.5 million in restitution. He previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft last August.
Williams was one of 18 players initially indicted in Oct. 2021, when the group was accused of a three-year scheme in which they submitted fake reimbursement claims to the health plan for exams and procedures that were never done. Former NBPA vice president Keyon Dooling was later added to that group.
Per prosecutors, Williams was the one running the show. He recruited other former players and non-medical professionals into the scheme in exchange kickbacks of at least $300,000.
He is also said to have fraudulent created and transferred letters of medical necessity for three players, impersonated health plan administrative managers and attempted to frighten one of his co-defendants into rejoining the scheme. In one case, prosecutors say he threatened a doctor involved in the scheme by using a bogus email account to impersonate the health plan and extract a “fine” of approximately $346,000.
From the U.S. Attorney Damian Williams:
“Williams led a wide-ranging scheme to steal millions of dollars from the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan. Williams recruited medical professionals and others to expand his criminal conspiracy and maximize his ill-gotten gains. Williams not only lined his pockets through fraud and deceit, but he also stole the identities of others and threatened a witness to further his criminal endeavors. For his brazen criminal acts, Williams now faces years in prison.”
Williams last played in the NBA in 2013. The 11th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft out of Louisville, he saw six seasons of sporadic action as a bench player for the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics before playing another two seasons for several teams in foreign leagues.
At least two other former players have already been sentenced, with Dooling receiving a 30-month sentence and Alan Anderson getting 24 months.