Eighteen former National Basketball Association players have been indicted on charges they participated in a conspiracy to defraud an N.B.A. health care plan of nearly $4 million, the federal authorities said on Thursday.
The scheme lasted from at least 2017 through last year and involved the submission of fraudulent claims for reimbursement of medical and dental services that had not been actually carried out, according to a federal indictment unsealed in Manhattan.
For the most part, the 18 former players charged in the scheme played in the N.B.A. in the late 1990s and the 2000s. Perhaps the most famous was Ronald Glen Davis, a fan favorite nicknamed “Big Baby,” who was part of the Boston Celtics team that won the N.B.A. championship in 2008.
Others charged included promising prospects whose careers did not reach the heights that had been expected, including Darius Miles and Sebastian Telfair, both of whom were drafted out of high school.
The indictment said that one of the former players, Terrence Williams, who played for the New Jersey Nets and the Houston Rockets, had orchestrated the scheme and recruited other former players by offering to supply them with false invoices to support their fraudulent claims. The indictment charges that Mr. Williams also received $230,000 in kickbacks in the scheme.
The indictment said the conspirators submitted claims totaling $3.9 million and received about $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.
The charges are to be announced in New York later today at a news conference by Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, the head of the F.B.I.’s New York office.
Several of the players charged played at least part of their career for New York area teams, including Shannon Brown with the Knicks, and Williams, Antoine Wright and Chris Douglas-Roberts with the Nets. Others gained fleeting instances of fame, like Milton Palacio, who in 2000 hit a memorable buzzer beater against the Nets, or Ruben Patterson, who was said to have called himself the “Kobe Stopper,” claiming to be one of the few defenders who could slow down the Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.