Former University of Florida linebacker and NFL cornerback Monty Grow had a brief and unspectacular NFL career.
Grow spent the 1994 season with the Kansas City Chiefs and the 1995 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before injuries ended his career.
That didn’t stop Grow from accumulating millions of dollars from his own business that any professional athlete would be proud to claim as his life earnings.
But the government alleges that Grow didn’t earn his millions legally.
Grow, 46, began his trial Monday in Miami federal court on fraud, conspiracy and kickback charges, per the Miami Herald.
He is accused of defrauding $20 million from a U.S. government program that provides health care coverage for military service members and veterans.
Grow, who operated his business out of Tampa, is accused of paying kickbacks to help acquire TRICARE patient referrals for a Broward County pharmacy.
Between 2014 and 2015, the government paid the pharmacy, Patient Care America, $40 million for supplying pain, scar and other health-aid creams.
In exchange for Grow’s aid in acquiring new patients, the pharmacy paid half of the $40 million to Grow in a contract agreement, according to prosecutors.
Grow then allegedly took his $20 million and used it to fund even more kickbacks to acquire more patients, with the money being paid both to patient recruiters and directly to patients.
The payments were in violation of federal law, according to the indictment.
“This is a case about a man who lied and cheated to get a bunch of money he didn’t deserve,” prosecutor Kevin Larsen said during opening statements to a 12-person jury on Monday.
“Mr. Grow came up with a pyramid scheme of kickbacks to induce these TRICARE beneficiaries to order expensive drugs they really didn’t need,” Larsen added.
The prosecution team claimed Grow was at “the top of pyramid.”
Prosecutors said Grow became instantly wealthy, and cited some of his belongings as incriminating evidence. Grow’s Tampa waterfront home, Range Rover and Porsche 911 were cited as proof of his wealth.
Grow also allegedly had millions in e-trade stock markets.
“He did not set up a pyramid scheme,” Daniel Rashbaum, one of Grow’s defense attorneys, argued in opening statements. “He set up a multilevel marketing team, similar to Amway, Herbal Life and Mary Kay.”
Rashbaum argued that Grow was not paying kickbacks, but rather employing sales representatives.
“The government wants to make this case by making commissions [look like] kickbacks,” Rashbaum said. “But they simply aren’t.”
This hasn’t been the first time Grow has run afoul of the law following his NFL stint.
Grow was arrested in 2013 after allegedly leaving a 3-year old girl in his car while he went into a strip club. The charges filed in that case were eventually dropped.
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