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Warriors legends arrested in health care scam

18 former NBA players were charged in a conspiracy to defraud the league’s health care plan, but only two of them used to play for the Warriors.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers
C.J. Watson thinks about falsifying dental invoices during a stoppage of play in 2008
Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

An FBI investigation has snagged a current NBA assistant coach, NBA champions Tony Allen and Glen “Big Baby” Davis, a star of the movie “The Perfect Score,” and Golden State Warriors legends C.J. Watson and Will Bynum (15 games, 2005-6 season) for a health care fraud scheme.

A total of 18 players were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, which could carry jail time of up to 20 years, which seems excessive. The players charged the NBA’s health and benefit plans for fictitious medical and dental procedures that never took place, some supposedly occurring in the US while the “patient” was playing basketball overseas. 15 players were arrested Wednesday, as was Tony Allen’s wife. The mastermind of the scheme? Former No. 11 pick Terrence Williams. Williams recruited players and provided them with fake invoices for the false claims, which stole $4 million, while William received kickbacks from the other players. Williams also faces a charge of identity theft.

Blazers coach Milt Palacio, one of Chauncey Billups’ new assistants, was placed on administrative leave by the team. Other defendants include one of the most famous high school players in history, Sebastian Telfair, two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Shannon Brown, small forward and part-time actor Darius Miles, and Ruben Patterson, who played in the NBA until 2007 despite being a registered sex offender. This list is like a cross between the first season of the BIG3 and The Longest Yard.

It’s not clear what C.J. Watson or Will Bynum’s roles were in this conspiracy. The Warriors signed Bynum to a 10-day contract at the end of the 2005-6 season, after an actual injury to Baron Davis. His contract was extended the rest of the season and Bynum played 15 games for the team, which is slightly fewer than the number of years he’s currently facing, and later spent six years as a quality backup in Detroit.

Watson played for the Warriors from 2007-2010, also known as the We No Longer Believe era. He was a good contributor, but the Warriors traded Watson to Chicago after concluding that having a third skinny shoot-first point guard alongside Steph Curry and Monta Ellis was overkill. What else do Bynum and Watson have in common? They’re two of the few veteran point guards the Warriors did not invite to training camp this fall.

A similar fraud investigation in the NFL caught former Washington Football Team running back Clinton Portis, who pled guilty in July to his role in the conspiracy. Based on his plea, these players will likely be forced to pay back their ill-gotten monies, but likely not serve the whopping prison sentences currently on the table.

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