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Former Florida player sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison for healthcare fraud conspiracy

Sporting News logo Sporting News 4/18/2018 Joe Rodgers

Florida Gators © (Getty Images) Florida Gators A former Florida football player was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison Monday and ordered to pay about $18 million for a healthcare fraud conspiracy that stripped millions from the TRICARE program for military members, veterans and their families, federal court records obtained by the Associated Press Wednesday show.

Monty Grow, who played for Steve Spurrier's Gators from 1990-93, was accused in a 49-count indictment of hiring an independent marketing team that included former Florida and NFL quarterback Shane Matthews in a conspiracy to fleece the TRICARE program.

Grow, 46, maintained his innocence and denied what the prosecuting attorney described as "buying and selling patients for a pharmacy."

Grow, a former defensive back who spent three years in the NFL with the Chiefs and Jaguars, was accused of receiving and paying kickbacks to score lucrative patient referrals for a major South Florida pharmacy.

Despite his claims of innocence, a jury unanimously convicted Grow on multiple charges earlier this year, including the conspiracy that funneled more than $20 million from the TRICARE program.

Grow was also arrested in 2013 on child abuse charges after leaving his then-3-year-old child locked in a car.

Matthews was sentenced to three months in prison for his role in Grow's company. The Miami Herald reported Matthews received $440,000 for lining up sales representatives who then landed TRICARE patients for the pharmacy.

Prosecutors described the conspiracy as a "pyramid scheme" and said there are other "unindicted co-conspirators."

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