Joe Horn pleads guilty to defrauding fund for retired players’ health care

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Former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud a health plan, the first conviction in a case that has seen 12 retired NFL players accused of ripping off the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, a program designed to help them with their medical needs.

Horn submitted $149,775 in false or fraudulent claims to the health plan, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. None of the players live in Kentucky, but the players are being prosecuted in federal court there because they submitted their claims to a health care data center in Lexington.

Former players are accused of faking invoices claiming to have purchased expensive equipment such as hyperbaric chambers, cryotherapy machines, ultrasound machines and electromagnetic therapy devices designed for use on horses, then submitting those invoices to the fund and asking for reimbursement.

Former NFL players Robert McCune and Correll Buckhalter are accused of recruiting other former players into the scheme and offering to handle fraudulent claims on their behalf in exchange for $10,000 of the proceeds.

Horn will not be sentenced until April. It is believed that his guilty plea was part of a deal that will see him get a lighter sentence in exchange for providing information about other accused players.

In addition to Horn, McCune and Buckhalter, the players facing criminal charges are Clinton Portis, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Carlos Rogers, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Fredrick Bennett and Etric Pruitt. Reche Caldwell has not been charged, but prosecutors say they plan to bring charges against him.

Horn’s life story was, until now, an uplifting one: He played his college football only at the community college level and had quit football altogether before managing to get a tryout with a Canadian Football League team in 1995 and bursting onto the scene with a 1,000-yard rookie season in the CFL that year. The next year he went to the NFL, where he played four years with the Chiefs and then signed with the Saints in 2000, where he was a four-time Pro Bowler.

18 responses to “Joe Horn pleads guilty to defrauding fund for retired players’ health care

  1. These guys are going to find out the hard way that while you can seriously hurt people and get a slap on the wrist, they’ll lock you up for a long time if you dare to mess with insurance fraud.

  2. Very sad.

    Who are the doctors writing prescriptions or medical orders for the equipment? Invite them to be indictment party.

  3. Career earnings 37 Million and a beloved local figure. He throws it away for $150k

    What a complete loser.

  4. “I’m willing to bet that you’d do a lot of illegal stuff for 10k.” Not true. Most of us have a conscience.

  5. “I’m willing to bet that you’d do a lot of illegal stuff for 10k.”

    I can 100% guarantee you that I would not do anything illegal for any amount of money. My family and their love and respect mean much more to me than any amount of money I may get from being a part of some scheme. I enjoy not looking over my shoulder.

  6. NFL players talk about not trusting the owners…well…the players are just as untrustworthy as well…so there you go…

  7. Watched mant of those players for alot of years and enjoyed their play……NOW when I hear their NAMES I will think of them as parasites of the worst kind. Nice way to be remembered guys.

  8. I could argue that joe horn is reason nfl fans
    are subjected to these pathetic, immature, embarrassing endzone skits.

  9. Some of these fellows played in the CFL, too. I wonder if the CFL has a similar retired players fund? What a shameful way to end your football legacy….

  10. cardinealsfan20 says:
    December 20, 2019 at 12:27 pm
    “Slugs, every one of them”

    I’m willing to bet that you’d do a lot of illegal stuff for 10K.

    You’d be VERY wrong.

  11. People will never want to acknowledge this but some of the same personality traits that will help a guy put in the real work to get from community college to the CFL and the NFL will also fuel the drive to take risks outside of community norms and laws.

  12. People complain about $10 copays, want free medical care but don’t want to pay premiums. This is not even a worthwhile case for news, it’s a giant whatever. So the NFL made a slush fund that was depleted by nfl players? I care so little.

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