Former NFL running back Clinton Portis, whose 6,824 rushing yards for Washington rank second in franchise history, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in Kentucky federal court last Friday and could face up to 10 years in prison. Portis’ sentencing is scheduled for January 6th.
A former Rookie of the Year who eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in six of his nine NFL seasons, Portis, as part of his plea agreement, admitted to filing fraudulent reimbursement claims with the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. On behalf of Robert McCune (who joined his former teammate in pleading guilty), Portis received $99,264 for an oxygen chamber and cryogenic sauna he never ended up purchasing.
The two-time Pro Bowler was indicted along with five other NFL players last July. Portis’ recent trial resulted in a hung jury, though the 40-year-old was due back in court Tuesday for the start of another trial.
A standout at the University of Miami who debuted as a second-round pick in 2002, Portis will “likely” face prison time, according to Tom Schad of USA Today. Portis’ money problems began in 2015 when, three years after retirement, the 5’11” workhorse filed for bankruptcy after finding himself nearly $5 million in debt. Prosecutors allege Portis, former Saints receiver Joe Horn and several others hatched an elaborate scheme against the NFL, filing $3.9 million in false health care claims between June 2017 and December of 2018. Portis and McCune’s claims were both made in 2018.
“During the conspiracy, Portis and McCune, through the use of interstate wires, caused the submission of two false and fraudulent claims to the Plan under Portis’ name,” Portis’ plea agreement reads. “Portis was aware of a high probability that these claims sought reimbursement for items that were not medically necessary and were not actually provided and deliberately ignored that fact.”
Portis compiled 11,941 yards from scrimmage (9,923 rushing, 2,018 receiving) and 80 touchdowns over 113 NFL appearances between Washington and Denver.