In one of the most bizarre NBA stories in recent years, 18 former players were arrested as part of a probe into a potential health care scam. The players have been charged with defrauding the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan. The fraud is said to amount to almost $4 million. Three former Mavericks were among those arrested. A fourth member, Melvin Ely, played for the Texas Legends.
Antoine Wright, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Greg Smith are facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The scam is said to have been uncovered after medical necessity forms and other items “are not on letterhead, they contain unusual formatting, they have grammatical errors,” as the indictment reads.
The NBA said in a statement, “The benefit plans provided by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association to our players are critically important to support their health and well-being throughout their playing careers and over the course of their lives, which makes these allegations particularly disheartening.”
Wright played for the Mavericks for one year in the middle of a long career in multiple countries. He joined Dallas as part of the trade that sent Jason Kidd to the Mavericks in 2008. He famously was involved in a critical play at the end of game three of that year’s postseason, where he wasn’t called for an intentional foul on Carmelo Anthony before Anthony sunk in a game-winning three pointer.
Douglas-Roberts joined the Mavericks in 2012, but was immediately sent to the then D-League. He was waived by the organization in 2013. He later rejoined the Legends in 2016 in his last action in professional basketball. Douglas-Roberts was a teammate of Kidd and Wright in New Jersey in 2008.
Lastly, Smith was traded to Dallas in the summer of 2014, as part of a flurry of moves involving Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson, Tyson Chandler, Charlie Villanueva, and others. Smith rarely played and left as a free agent the following season.
To this point, the Mavericks have not commented on the matter.
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