April 29, 2022 — A doctor , a dentist, and former National Basketball Association players are among 19 charged in a scheme to defraud the NBA’s health plan to the tune of $5 million.
William Washington, MD, an emergency doctor in Washington, Aamir Wahab, DDS, a dentist in California, and Keyon Dooling, a former NBA player and currently an 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.” 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 that charged individuals with health care fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, according to the Department of Justice, 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 U.S. 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.”
Those indicted are accused of 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 about $5 million, according to the DOJ.
Terrence Williams, one of the individuals charged by the federal government in October, orchestrated the fraud and recruited other members covered by the NBA’s health plan. The Justice Department alleges that Williams offered to provide individuals with false invoices to support their fraudulent claims. Wahab, the dentist in California, and Washington, the doctor in Washington State, gave the fraudulent invoices to Williams, which he sent to his co-conspirators.
Williams is a former shooting guard who played for basketball teams including the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics. He last played in the NBA in 2013.
According to The Associated Press, a prosecutor in October the false claims ranged from $65,000 to $420,000 per defendant. About $2.5 million was collected by former NBA players as part of the fraud.
The DOJ’s announcement included the following text exchange, which took place around April 30, 2018, between Wahab and Dooling about creating fraudulent invoices for 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 about $350,000 as a result of the fraud, the Justice Department said.
Individuals named in the indictment face a maximum of 20 years in prison. The case is being overseen by the FBI’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit.