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Former Raven Robert McCune among NFL retirees charged in health care fraud case

Robert McCune, a linebacker who played in three games for the Ravens across the 2007-08 seasons, is among 10 former NFL players who were charged in Kentucky on Thursday with defrauding the league’s retiree health care program of nearly $4 million.

McCune, 40, of Riverdale, Georgia, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and nine counts of health care fraud, according to court documents.

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The alleged fraud was targeted at the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which provided tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance for former players, their wives and their dependents. The reimbursements topped out at $350,000 per player.

More than $3.9 million in false and fraudulent claims for equipment that was never purchased were submitted by the 10 players, with more than $3.4 million paid out between June 2017 and December 2018, according to the indictment. The nine other charged former players are Clinton Portis, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, Etric Pruitt and Carlos Rogers.

McCune was allegedly part of a group that recruited other players to submit false claims “in exchange for kickbacks and bribes that ranged from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more per claim submitted,” according to the indictment. He and Buckhalter then allegedly called the plan’s phone number and impersonated other players to check the status of the claim.

McCune allegedly filed the first claim when, on Oct. 3, 2017, he filed a reimbursement claim in Buckhalter’s name for a PEMF8000E Equine Unit, which is an electromagnetic therapy device used on horses, as well as an electromagnetic therapy magnetic mattress and three “butterfly loops,” with a combined cost of nearly $40,000. He went on to file nearly 10 more false claims in the names of the other players, according to the indictment.

The Washington Redskins selected McCune in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played five games for them that season and was traded to the Miami Dolphins the next year while appearing in no contests for either team. Miami waived him after the 2007 preseason, then McCune signed onto the Ravens’ practice squad. He was on the active roster for two games, recording four tackles, and appeared in one game in 2008 while the Ravens repeatedly cut and re-signed him throughout the season. He did not appear in an NFL game again.

For all charges, McCune could face a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss and supervised release for a maximum of three years. Additionally, for the count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud and nine counts of wire fraud, McCune could face a maximum of 20 years in prison, while the punishment for each of nine counts of health care fraud is a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Attempts to contact McCune were unsuccessful.

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