Dentist gets jail, must pay $1.2M for role in NBA benefits scam

Jail Hands

A California dentist was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution for his role in a $5 million scheme to defraud the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) dental and medical benefits plan, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dr. Aamir Wahab of Unforgettable Smile in Beverly Hills, CA, was sentenced on December 20 to three years in prison and ordered to forfeit $458,576 and pay $1,192,522 in restitution, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Wahab, who was arrested in May 2022, reportedly aided in defrauding the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan, a healthcare plan that provides coverage to eligible active and former basketball players, by documenting that certain dental services were provided to the athletes and spouses that never happened.

From 2018 to about 2019, the 44-year-old dentist reportedly conspired with several former NBA players, including former New Jersey Nets player and purported ringleader of the scam Terrence Williams and former NBA player and Utah Jazz assistant coach Keyon Dooling, according to the release.

Wahab purportedly created and caused others to create fraudulent invoices for former players and their spouses. Then, the players allegedly submitted those invoices to the plan for reimbursement.

Also, Wahab charged or caused others to charge plan-issued debit cards, which were intended to pay for point-of-service healthcare services, for dental care that was never rendered. Wahab pocketed a portion of the fraudulent proceeds for his participation in the scheme, according to the release.

The investigation revealed damaging text messages reportedly recovered from Wahab’s phone. The message showed Wahab was eager to be part of the scam. When Dooling messaged Wahab, “Let’s make this thing grow sir,” the dentist responded, “Lol (laughing out loud) I’m down bro Get me the whole NBA,” according to the release.

In August 2023, Williams was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In February, Dooling was sentenced to 30 months in prison. In October 2021, Williams and Dooling were arrested with more than a dozen ex-NBA players and a spouse who allegedly participated in the scheme.

 

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