A California dentist has been sentenced to three years in prison for a scheme to defraud the National Basketball Association Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced last week.
Dentist Aamir Wahab, of Unforgettable Smile in Beverly Hills, falsely documented that former NBA players and their spouses received dental services between 2018 and 2019 which he did not provide. He also charged insurance-issued debit cards of former players without serving them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
In addition to the prison time, Wahab has been ordered to forfeit $458,576.50 and pay $1,192,522 in restitution.
The 44-year-old dentist reportedly conspired with several former NBA players, including Terrance Williams, a former Nets player and alleged ringleader of the scam. Williams was sentenced to ten years in prison earlier this year.
Wahab allegedly created fraudulent invoices for former players and their spouses. Then, the players allegedly submitted those invoices to the plan for reimbursement. They also used some plan-issued debit cards that were intended to be used to pay for eligible medical services, however, Wahab charged the cards and did not provide the services. The dentist then kept some of the money that came from scheme.
Former NBA player and Utah Jazz assistant coach Keyon Dooling was an accomplice to the fraud, according to the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Text messages recovered from the doctor’s phone showed he was eager to take part in the fraud scheme. Dooling wrote to Wahab, “Let’s make this thing grow sir,” to which Wahab responded, “Lol I’m down bro Get me the whole NBA.”
Wahab and Williams also discussed the invoices. In March 2019, Williams wanted Wahab to charge co-conspirators’ plan-issued debit cards more frequently, but Wahab was initially reluctant. While disagreeing about whether to charge the debit cards, they argued about whether Williams owed Wahab approximately $12,000 in fraud proceeds.
The Nets player messaged “You’ve made thousands of f—ing dollars to print an invoice with a name at the top like you f—ng kidding me?! We not gonna act like you doing dental work.”
Wahab was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraid and wire fraid in May 2022 along with Dooling.