The trial of former NFL player Monty Grow began today in Miami, more than a year after he was first indicted for helping to engineer a scheme that netted more than $20 million from a government program that helps military members and veterans receive health care.
Grow was indicted last November on more than 50 counts of health care fraud, money laundering, causing the misbranding of drugs while held for sale, and conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks. After the two years he spent as a defensive back for the Chiefs and the Jaguars in the ‘90s, he became a businessman in his home state of Florida and eventually ran a company that he allegedly used to take advantage of Tricare, a health insurance program ran by the Department of Defense, and its beneficiares.
His company, MGTEN, so named for his initials and his jersey number from his playing days at the University of Florida, specialized in making and selling compounded medications, or individually mixed medicines that are generally not otherwise commercially available. Grow allegedly built relationships with patient recruiters that he used to build a system in which veterans and service members insured through Tricare would be referred to telemedicine groups that would prescribe them MGTEN drugs without physically examining the patients. Grow is accused of taking personal kickbacks off those prescriptions—and setting up others to go to his co-conspirators and even some to the patients, to keep them asking for MGTEN prescriptions. Tricare paid MGTEN a total of $40 million for those drugs over the years, and Grow himself took $20 million in kickbacks.
“This is a case about a man who lied and cheated to get a bunch of money he didn’t deserve,” prosecutor Kevin Larsen told the jury during today’s opening statements, per the Miami Herald. “Mr. Grow came up with a pyramid scheme of kickbacks to induce these Tricare beneficiaries to order expensive drugs they really didn’t need.”
Grow’s lawyers say that it was not a pyramid scheme but instead a “multilevel marketing team.”
The original indictment can be read in full below: