monty grow-florida gators

Former University of Florida and NFL defensive back Monty Grow faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted Monday of a $20 million healthcare fraud conspiracy.

Grow, who played briefly for the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars in 1994 and 1995, allegedly stripped money from a program for military members and veterans, while also conspiring to receive and pay kickbacks after referring patients to a pharmacy in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Via the Miami Herald:

U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno ordered that Grow, who lives in Tampa, be taken into custody immediately by U.S. marshals because of the amount of money involved in the healthcare fraud case. He faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing hearing on April 16.

The jury, which was given instructions on kickbacks and other legal issues by Moreno at the end of the six-day trial, had to decide whether Grow intentionally defrauded the government program or was simply paid lavish but legitimate commissions by the pharmacy for referring the TRICARE patients.

“We are disappointed with the verdict,” Grow’s defense attorneys, Daniel Rashbaum and Jeffrey Marcus, said. “We think that the acquittal on more than half of the counts after four days of deliberation is inconsistent with the result and makes little sense. We will continue to fight for Mr. Grow, who is an innocent man.”

Grow’s scheme also involved former quarterback Shane Matthews, who played with Grow at Flordia before lasting six seasons in the NFL, mostly for the Chicago Bears. Matthews was sentenced last week to three months in prison for a minor role in the conspiracy.

According to the Herald, prosecutors painted Grow as running a “pyramid scheme,” while the former player and his lawyers said his business had been entirely legitimate.

This is not Grow’s first run-in with the law. In 2013, he was charged with child abuse after allegedly leaving 3-year-old girl in his car while he went into a strip club.

Grow played at Florida from 1990-93, then signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He appeared sparingly for Kansas City and Jacksonville before quickly washing out of the league.

Per the Herald, Grow will be sentenced at a hearing on April 16.

[Miami Herald]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.