MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — Former LeFlore star Robert McCune has become the latest retired NFL player to plead guilty to defrauding the league’s health care benefit program by submittting false claims for medical equipment.
15 former players in all have now pleaded guilty, including Etric Pruitt, who played at Theodore, and Antwan Odom, who played at Alma Bryant.
Federal prosecutors described McCune as a “ringleader” who would recruit former players, file false claims on their behalf, and then take a kickback. Prosecutors say the former players submitted almost $4 million in phony claims, leading to payouts of about $3.4 million between June 2017 and December 2018.
Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses not covered by insurance.
McCune faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, 13 counts of health care fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19.
McCune, 42, was a fifth-round pick by Washington in the 2005 NFL Draft. He played a total of eight games with Cleveland and Baltimore between 2005 and 2008. Prior to his NFL career, McCune was a two-time all-Conference USA linebacker at the University of Louisville.
Pruitt played at Southern Miss and two seasons in the NFL. He played for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in 2005.
Odom played at Alabama and then eight years in the NFL with Tennessee and Cincinnati.
Other former NFL players who have pled guilty in the scheme are former Auburn star Carlos Rogers, former Saints WR Joe Horn, Clinton Portis, Tamarick Vanover, Correll Buckhalter, James Butler,, Ceandris Brown, John Eubanks, Darrell Reid, Anthony Montgomery, Fredrick Bennett, and Reche Caldwell.
The FBI’s Mobile office was involved in the investigation.