Clinton Portis sentenced to 6 months in prison, 6 months' home confinement for role in scheme to defraud health care benefit program

January 6, 2022, 4:29 PM

ASHBURN, Va. -- Former Washington and Denver Broncos running back Clinton Portis has been sentenced to six months in federal prison and six months of home confinement for his part in defrauding a health care benefit program for retired NFL veterans.

Portis, 40,  pleaded guilty to fraud in September following charges that he obtained nearly $100,000 after filing false claims for medical equipment that was not provided, according to court documents.

In a pre-sentence filing Thursday, the Department of Justice said it sought a sentence at the higher end of the recommended 10-to-16 month guideline, given Portis' offense. The DOJ said it sought a longer sentence because Portis continued to deny his guilt until he faced a retrial following a hung jury. The filing also noted Portis did not pay back money to the plan until shortly before sentencing.

Portis was part of a ring of former players who filed false reimbursement claims totaling about $2.9 million. In 2006, the NFL established the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, designed to help retired players pay for medical expenses. The account provides up to $350,000 in benefits per player.

Fifteen former players have pleaded guilty to charges.

Tamarick Vanover, who played for the Chiefs and Chargers, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22.

Former linebacker Robert McCune, considered by the Department of Justice to be the orchestrator of the ring, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft. He faces a lengthy jail sentence.

The other former players who have pleaded guilty are: Joe Horn, Carlos Rogers, Correll Buckhalter, James Butler, Ceandris Brown, John Eubanks, Antwan Odom, Etric Pruitt, Darrell Reid, Anthony Montgomery, Frederick Bennett and Reche Caldwell, who was killed in 2020.

Buckhalter received a 10-month prison sentence in October. Others, including Bennett, Rogers, Odom, Montgomery and Reid, have been sentenced to house arrest ranging from six to 10 months, according to court documents.

Horn, a former New Orleans receiver, was sentenced in November to three years of probation and at least 200 hours of community service for his role. He obtained $149,775, but has repaid the money.

According to the Department of Justice, Portis faced up to 10 years in prison for his role in the scheme. He was charged with submitting false claims totaling $99,624 in benefits over a two-month span for medical equipment that had not been provided. Along with pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, Portis agreed to repay the full amount.

Portis, McCune, Eubanks and Rogers spent one year together with Washington in 2006. Portis, who played for Washington from 2004 to 2010, is the franchise's second-leading rusher, with 6,824 yards.

Denver drafted Portis in the second round in 2002 and traded him to Washington after the 2003 season -- after he had rushed for a combined 3,099 yards in his first two seasons.

Portis rushed for 9,923 yards and 75 touchdowns and caught 247 passes for 2,018 yards and five scores in nine NFL seasons.