Crime - Sacto 911

Former NFL player sentenced to prison in $1.5 million insurance fraud case

A former National Football League player accused of participating in a $1.5 million scheme to defraud a Sacramento business that managed workers’ compensation claims has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison.

Marcus Buckley, 46, of Weatherford, Texas, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. Judge Troy L. Nunley also ordered Buckley to pay more than $1.58 million in restitution, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Buckley played professional football for seven seasons, from 1993 to 2000, with the New York Giants. During that time, the Giants had workers’ compensation insurance coverage through Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association Insurance Group, or PMA.

In 2006, Buckley filed a workers’ compensation claim against the Giants for cumulative stress injuries sustained while playing football, part of that time in California. During the first week of November 2010, Buckley, the Giants and PMA settled Buckley’s claim for $300,000 as part of a “compromise and release” agreement, according to the news release.

After Buckley’s claim was settled, between late 2010 and June 2011, Buckley prepared and filed numerous requests for additional reimbursement under his claim. He prepared false invoices and statements from medial providers for medical service purportedly provided. He also prepared false credit collection notices from collection agencies purportedly seeking payment from Buckley from various medical providers for past-due medical bills, the news release said.

Buckley sent the false invoices, statements and credit collection letters to his co-defendant, Kimberly Jones, who was a claims adjuster with Gallagher Bassett Services at its Sacramento office. The firm was a third-party administrator that managed workers’ compensation claims in California on behalf of PMA.

Jones was aware that Buckley was not entitled to additional reimbursement under his disability claim, and that the documentation and requests he submitted were false, the news release said. Jones nevertheless caused Gallagher Bassett to issue checks payable to Buckley, and he ultimately received more than $1.58 million to which he was not entitled.

Jones is to be sentenced Feb. 8 by Judge Nunley.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy