Ross: Ex-NBA fraudsters demonstrate the only thing more painful than a root canal

Oct 8, 2021, 6:03 AM | Updated: 10:56 am
Former NBA player Sebastian Telfair departs after being arraigned in Federal Court on Oct. 7, 2021 in New York City. Mr. Telfair is one of 18 people indicted for allegedly trying to defraud the NBA's health care plan. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

It was just a footnote on the evening news — the arrests of several former NBA players for cheating on their health insurance.

The ex-players were charged for allegedly defrauding the league’s health plan to the tune of $2.5 million.

One of the accused scamsters is Greg Smith, who didn’t have much of an NBA career, but did claim a lot of dental work. Back in 2018, he went to his Beverly Hills dentist and had eight crowns installed for about $47,000. Except on the day of his procedure in Beverly Hills, he was actually playing basketball in Taiwan.

Three of the accused players, according to the New York Times, went to the same dentist in April of 2016 and each of them needed root canals on the same six teeth. What are the odds?

Well, pretty high, because these claims, of course, were all made up.

One of the commenters on this story wondered why the feds would bother with this.

“It’s just millionaires scamming billionaires,” he said.

But, let me offer a reason the feds should bother with this.

Fraudsters are why people like me will get letters saying, “Dear Claimant, we need more information to verify that you really needed your arm reattached.”

It goes beyond health claims. Why does the state hassle people filing legitimate unemployment claims? Because they got burned by people filing bogus unemployment claims. You can blame the state for incompetence, and everybody has, but that just tells the state, “Well, we have to demand more paperwork and that affects all the honest people, too.”

The fraudsters absolutely need to be pursued because they’re the reason everybody else gets treated like a potential crook.

If these guys are convicted, the prosecutors have made it clear that the government is out to confiscate everything they own until it’s all paid back.

They need to send the message that the only thing more painful than getting a root canal is not getting a root canal and pretending you did.

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Ross: Ex-NBA fraudsters demonstrate the only thing more painful than a root canal