19, Including Physician, Charged in NBA Health Fraud Case

A physician, a dentist, and former National Basketball Association (NBA) players are among 19 charged in a scheme to defraud the basketball association’s health plan to the tune of $5 million.

William Washington, MD, an emergency physician in Washington, Aamir Wahab, DDS, a dentist in California, and Keyon Dooling, a former NBA player and current assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan, which covers current and former players, between 2017 and 2021.

According to the Washington Department of Health, Washington was first issued his medical license in 2006 and it is currently “active with restrictions.”

Keyon Dooling

Dooling previously served as the vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, and was involved as a union officer for 8 years.

In a statement, the Utah Jazz said, “It is a case concerning [Dooling’s] time at the National Basketball Players Association, prior to him joining our organization. He has been put on paid administrative leave. Due to the ongoing legal process, we will refrain from further comment.”

Dooling, Wahab, and Washington were added to an indictment previously announced in October 2021 that charged individuals with healthcare fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, per the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which revealed that Dooling, Washington, and Wahab were arrested Wednesday. The Associated Press reported that the October indictment included 18 NBA players.

“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” said Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss in a statement. “Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners, their alleged scheme has been disrupted and they will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law.”

The indicted individuals were involved in a scheme where health plan members submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement of medical and dental services that were never provided. Between 2017 and 2021, the false claims included in the scheme reached approximately $5 million, according to the DOJ.

Terrence Williams, one of the individuals charged by the federal government in October 2021, orchestrated the fraud and recruited other members covered by the NBA’s health plan; the DOJ alleges that Williams offered to provide individuals with false invoices to support their fraudulent claims. Wahab, the dentist in California, and Washington, the physician in Washington State, gave the fraudulent invoices to Williams, which he sent to his co-conspirators.

Law & Crime reported that Williams was a former shooting guard who played for basketball teams including the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics.

The Associated Press reported that a prosecutor said in October that the false claims ranged from $65,000 to $420,000 per defendant. Approximately $2.5 million was collected by former NBA players as part of the fraud, reported the wire service.

The DOJ’s announcement included the following text exchange, which took place on or about April 30, 2018, between Wahab and Dooling about creating fraudulent invoices on behalf of another former NBA player:

Dooling: Let’s make this thing grow sir.

Wahab: Lol I’m down bro[.] Get me the whole NBA [laughing emoji]

Dooling: Yes we will[.]”

Dooling received approximately $350,000 as a result of the fraud, per the DOJ.

Individuals named in the indictment stand to be sentenced a maximum of 20 years. The case is being overseen by the FBI’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit, according to the DOJ.

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