One of 18 Former NBA Players Convicted in Fraudulent Scheme
Ronald Glen “Big Baby” Davis, a former forward for the Boston Celtics and a member of their 2008 NBA championship team, was convicted on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, by a federal jury in Manhattan as part of a broader scheme that defrauded the National Basketball Association Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan of more than $5 million.
Davis, 37, was found guilty on charges including healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and make false statements related to healthcare matters. The verdict came after a detailed investigation into fraudulent activities targeting the NBA’s healthcare plan, which provides benefits to eligible active and retired NBA players.
The fraudulent scheme spanned four years
The case against Davis was part of a larger indictment involving 18 former NBA players. The group was accused of participating in a fraudulent scheme from at least 2017 through 2021, wherein they submitted fake reimbursement claims for medical care and dental services that were never actually provided. These fraudulent activities resulted in approximately $5 million in bogus claims received by the NBA health plan.
Evidence against Davis
Central to Davis’s conviction were claims he submitted totaling $132,000. In one instance, Davis claimed to have received crowns on eight teeth at a dental office located in Beverly Hills on October 2, 2018, costing $27,200. However, the geolocation data from his cellphone put Davis in Nevada on October 2, 2018, and flight records showed that later that day, he took a flight from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Paris, France.
Co-defendant’s partial acquittal
Alongside Davis, Will Bynum, a 40-year-old former NBA player who played for teams including the Detroit Pistons, was found guilty of conspiring to make false statements. Bynum, however, was acquitted on a charge of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The trial for these cases began on November 1, 2023.
Statement of the United States attorney on the convictions of Davis and Bynum
Almost immediately after the jury returned its verdicts convicting Davis and Bynum, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, issued a statement:
“Moments ago, a Manhattan jury convicted former NBA players Glen Davis and William Bynum of a criminal scheme to defraud the NBA Players’ Health and Benefit Welfare Plan. While many of the more than 20 defendants convicted in this case were well-known NBA stars, their conduct was otherwise a typical fraudulent scheme designed to defraud the NBA’s health care plan and net the defendants over $5 million in illicit profits. Today’s conviction exemplifies that despite notoriety or success in sports or any other field, no one is exempt from criminal charges if they engage in fraud.”
Sentencing and Legal Implications
Davis is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11, 2024. Under federal law, convictions for health care fraud can lead to up to 10 years in prison, while wire fraud charges can result in up to 20 years of imprisonment plus fines and forfeiture of double the property illegally acquired by wire fraud.