Reche Caldwell, Etric Pruitt pleading guilty in health fund fraud case

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Reche Caldwell and Etric Pruitt are pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in a case involving a dozen former NFL players, according to Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Caldwell pleaded guilty last Thursday while Pruitt was scheduled to enter his guilty plea on Monday. They join former Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn as players to have pleaded guilty that were involved in the scheme.

The group of 12 players filed nearly $4 million worth of false insurance claims in 18 months from the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, according to prosecutors. The fraud came from submitting claims to be paid for medical equipment such as hyperbaric chambers and cryotherapy machines, that they didn’t actually buy or receive. Some of the group have also been alleged to have fake prescriptions as support for the fraudulent claims.

Other players involved in the scheme include Robert McCune, Correll Buckhalter, Clinton Portis, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Carlos Rogers, Ceandris Brown, James Butler and Fredrick Bennett. They have pleaded not guilty.

Caldwell appeared in 71 career games for the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Washington Redskins with 29 starts. He caught 152 passes for 1,851 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Pruitt appeared in nine games for the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks as mostly a special teams player. His most prominent action came in Super Bowl XL when he had to replace an injured Marquand Manuel at safety. He had nine career tackles and one pass defended.