Former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn has pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme to rip off a health care program designed to cover unreimbursed medical expenses for retired professional football players.
Horn, 47, appeared before a federal judge in Kentucky Thursday and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud after admitting that he received $149,775 for fake claims submitted in 2018, court records show.
Horn was one of 10 retired NFL players charged last week with defrauding the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Plan, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
The plan provided tax-free reimbursements for out-of-pocket medical costs not covered by insurance for former players, their spouses and dependents.
Joe Horn, a former standout wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, is among several former NFL players who have been implicated in an alleg…
But the defendants in the case submitted phony claims to plan’s administrator, Lexington, Kentucky-based Cigna, which paid out $3.4 million between June 2017 and December 2018, according to federal authorities.
The players sent in fake invoices and falsified prescriptions for pricey medical equipment they never actually received, including a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, an ultrasound machine designed for women’s examinations and an electromagnetic therapy device for use on horses.
The other defendants include former star running back Clinton Portis, Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Carlos Rogers, Correll Buckhalter, Etric Pruitt, Ceandris Brown and Reche Caldwell.
Horn, a Saints standout and fan favorite who retired from the NFL after the 2007 season, admitting paying off co-defendants Vanover and Caldwell and others who helped him submit the false claims, according to court records.
Among those claims was a reimbursement for a $52,000 cryosauna, a machine that uses nitrogen vapor to create freezing temperatures for body therapies. But Horn didn’t need the machine and never received it, prosecutors said.
Horn faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. But the plea agreement suggests Horn is cooperating with the federal authorities in hope of more lenient sentence. The case is being prosecuted by the office of U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan in the Eastern District of Kentucky.