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Ex-NFL Player Clinton Portis Sentenced to Six Months in Prison

Jan. 7, 2022, 1:49 PM

Former NFL player Clinton Portis received a sentence of six months’ imprisonment for his role in a scheme to defraud a health-care program for retired players.

Judge Karen K. Caldwell of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky imposed the sentence Thursday and ordered the two-time Pro Bowler to begin serving the sentence March 8.

Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Portis to a term at the high end of the 10 to 16-month guidelines range because, they said, he failed to accept responsibility early on.

Portis asked the court to sentence him to probation, as the court has six other co-defendants, including Carlos Rogers.

He argued he is “less culpable than” Rogers, who admitted to actively recruiting players into a separate conspiracy, according to his sentencing memorandum filed Dec. 30, 2021.

Portis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health-care fraud after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his case. He has since paid $99,000 in restitution, the full amount requested by the government.

He and Tamarick Vanover were the final remaining defendants charged with criminal counts stemming from a scheme to defraud the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, after the other 11 pleaded guilty.

The government alleges the players cheated the plan out of millions of dollars by faking the purchase of expensive medical equipment like hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ultrasound machines.

Prosecutors say the players submitted more than $3.9 million in false reimbursement claims to the plan in 2017 and 2018.

Former NFL linebacker Robert McCune pleaded guilty to multiple counts in the case on Aug. 24, 2021.

Antwan Odom, Darrell Reid, Anthony Montgomery, Etric Pruitt, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, John Eubanks, Fredrick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, and Carlos Rogers entered guilty pleas in 2020.

Portis was a running back for the Denver Broncos from 2002 until 2004, when he signed with the Washington Football Team, where he played until retiring in 2010 with just under 10,000 career rushing yards.

Baker Botts LLP and Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC represent Portis.

The case is United States v. McCune, E.D. Ky., No. 19-cr-00206, 1/6/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com