A group of 18 former NBA players was indicted on Thursday due to allegations that they had committed insurance fraud against the league’s health and wellness benefit plan for retired players. While many of those players have moved out of the public eye and are no longer working in basketball, one of them, Milt Palacio, is currently an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers
. The Blazers, upon hearing the news, have placed Palacio on administrative leave.
“We are aware of charges as they have become publicly available in the alleged health insurance fraud case,” the team wrote in a statement issued Thursday. “Milt Palacio, a Trail Blazers assistant coach and former NBA player, was among those indicted in the case. Palacio has been placed on administrative leave by the organization, pending further notice. The federal investigation of the Trail Blazers organization and we will have no further comment pending the outcome of the legal process.”
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Palacio’s playing career ended in Lithuania 2013, but he hadn’t played in the NBA since 2006. He had been an assistant for the G League’s Long Island Nets since 2018, but joined Chauncey Billups’ staff in Portland for this season. He along with the following players were indicted in the health insurance fraud case brought forth by the New York federal court:
In addition to the 18 former NBA players, Desiree Allen, wife of Tony Allen, was also indicted. The alleged fraud was executed from at least 2017 to 2020, and totaled roughly $4 million in false claims. Out of that money, the defendants allegedly received about $2.5 million in reimbursements. Terrance Williams, who was selected No. 11 overall by the Nets in 2009, was reportedly behind the scheme and recruited other former players into it by offering fake invoices that they could then submit for reimbursement. The players face a count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, along with aggravated identity theft.