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Press Release

Former NBA Player Terrence Williams Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Defrauding The NBA Players’ Health And Welfare Benefit Plan

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that TERRENCE WILLIAMS was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni to 10 years in prison for leading a sprawling scheme to defraud the National Basketball Association’s (“NBA”) health and welfare benefit plan out of more than $5 million.  WILLIAMS previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Williams led a wide-ranging scheme to steal millions of dollars from the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan.  Williams recruited medical professionals and others to expand his criminal conspiracy and maximize his ill-gotten gains.  Williams not only lined his pockets through fraud and deceit, but he also stole the identities of others and threatened a witness to further his criminal endeavors.  For his brazen criminal acts, Williams now faces years in prison.”   

According to the Indictment, public court filings, and statements made in court:

The NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan is a health care plan providing benefits to eligible active and former players of the NBA and their family members.  From at least 2017 through at least 2021, TERRENCE WILLIAMS and more than a dozen others engaged in a widespread scheme to defraud the Plan by submitting and causing to be submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement of medical and dental services that were not actually rendered.  Over the course of the scheme, the defendants submitted and caused to be submitted to the Plan false claims totaling at least approximately $5 million.

WILLIAMS orchestrated the scheme to defraud the Plan.  WILLIAMS recruited other Plan participants to defraud the Plan by offering to provide them with false invoices to support their fraudulent claims.  WILLIAMS’s co-defendants, including a dentist in California and doctors in California and Washington State, provided WILLIAMS with fraudulent invoices that WILLIAMS sent to other co-conspirators.  WILLIAMS also recruited non-medical professionals to copy invoices made by medical offices, which WILLIAMS provided to co-conspirators, and which were used to defraud the Plan.  WILLIAMS conspired with others to submit fraudulent claims to the Plan in exchange for kickback payments to WILLIAMS of at least $300,000.

To verify that certain services were medically necessary, the Plan sometimes requires participants to provide a letter of medical necessity from medical providers, establishing that necessity of the provided services.  WILLIAMS fraudulently created and transferred letters of medical necessity for three co-conspirators.

WILLIAMS also impersonated others in furtherance of the scheme.  WILLIAMS pretended to be employees of the Plan’s administrative manager.  In one instance, WILLIAMS created an email account designed to appear to be an email account used by the Plan’s administrative manager.  WILLIAMS used that account to attempt to frighten a co-defendant so that the co-defendant would re-engage with WILLIAMS and would pay kickbacks to WILLIAMS.

On other occasions, WILLIAMS used another email account he created to threaten another co-defendant — a doctor who created fraudulent invoices for WILLIAMS.  WILLIAMS used this email account to pretend to be employees of the Plan’s administrative manager and demand that this co-defendant pay WILLIAMS a “fine” or the “employees” would tell the authorities about the submission of fraudulent invoices.  Through these threats and deception, WILLIAMS obtained approximately $346,000 from this particular co-defendant.

In or about April 2022, after WILLIAMS was charged and arrested in this case and while on pretrial release, WILLIAMS texted threats to a witness, including that the witness was “talking way to[o] f[---]ing much,” to “shut the f[--]k up,” and “me spitting in your face is exactly what you’ll see.”  Following a motion by the Government on May 6, 2022, as a result of this obstructive conduct, Judge Caproni remanded WILLIAMS.

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In addition to his prison term, WILLIAMS, 36, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $653,672.55 and to pay restitution in the amount of $2,500,000. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan B. Finkel and Daniel G. Nessim are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated August 3, 2023

Financial Fraud
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-276