Former Florida QB sentenced in fraud case

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Former three-time All-SEC Florida quarterback Shane Matthews, a current Gainesville resident, radio personality and assistant high school football coach, has been sentenced to three months in prison for his minor role in a healthcare fraud conspiracy orchestrated by another former UF player, linebacker Monty Grow.

Matthews, 47, was sentenced in a south Florida court last week after pleading guilty on Aug. 17, 2017, to one count of causing a drug to be misbranded.

On Monday, a federal jury unanimously convicted Grow of healthcare fraud conspiracy for bilking $20 million from the TRICARE program for military members, veterans and their families.

He was also convicted of conspiring to receive and pay kickbacks for referring hundreds of military beneficiaries to Pompano Beach-based pharmacy Patient Care America. He also was convicted of money laundering.

Grow, who faces up to 20 years in prison, was taken into custody immediately. His sentencing hearing is April 16.

In a 49-count indictment, Grow was accused of hiring an independent marketing team, including Matthews, in the conspiracy to fleece the TRICARE program.

Matthews, the volunteer offensive coordinator at Gainesville High, where his son Luke is a star quarterback, was paid $440,000 for lining up sales representatives who secured TRICARE patients for the pharmacy.

Matthews gave a statement to The Sun on Monday night saying he entered into employment with Grow, a former teammate and friend, thinking he was taking a legitimate job. He said he was approached by authorities in the spring of 2016 and informed that it was a fraudulent operation and that he cooperated fully during the investigation.

“Stunned by this revelation, I immediately cooperated with the authorities and offered to give back every cent of my compensation,” Matthews said in his statement. “I deeply regret getting involved with Mr. Grow’s business.  “My biggest mistake was not asking more questions in regards to his business practices. I have learned a valuable lesson in the importance of prudent decision making. Going forward, I will be sure to share this experience with the young men I coach so that they might avoid the pitfalls of a mistake this costly.

“I accept full responsibility for my role in this operation. The punishment of a brief incarceration pales in comparison to the embarrassment this has caused me, my family, my friends, and the Gator Nation. For letting down all those who have supported me over the years, I offer my sincerest apologies.”

 Matthews’ attorney, Miles Kinsell, also gave a statement to The Sun, saying that Matthews thought he was working for a legitimate business and was unaware that Grow was operating an illegal scheme.

 “In late April/early May of 2015 Mr. Matthews ceased working with Mr. Grow never having any idea that in actuality Mr. Grow was running an unlawful scheme to receive illegal ‘kickbacks’ on the sale of prescription medicines,” Kinsell said in his statement. “In early 2016 investigators contacted Mr. Matthews and informed him that they were investing Mr. Grows ‘business’. Immediately Mr. Matthews agreed to fully cooperate with investigators and assisted them with their investigation.

“In meetings arranged by myself and co-counsel Tim Jansen, Mr. Matthews met the prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office and it is my belief that they were convinced that he had no idea that Mr. Grow was conducting an illegal enterprise.  

“Mr. Matthews returned all proceeds he earned during his employment.  The Government chose not to charge Mr. Matthews with the Felony Fraud crimes that Mr. Grow and others in his organization were indicted on, deciding instead to charge him with a single misdemeanor charge. Mr. Matthews accepted full responsibility and ultimately entered a plea to the misdemeanor charge.”

According to court filings, the federal government has a forfeiture against Matthews for $439,765. He’s set to report to a federal facility as close to Gainesville as possible. He must surrender on or before noon on June 1.

He’ll be on some kind of electronic “home detention” monitoring for three months and has to do 50 hours of community service, plus pay a fine of $100.

At Matthews’ sentencing hearing, several letters were submitted in his defense, including one from his former wife, Stephanie Weldon, the mother of his two children.

 “Your honor, please consider Shane’s history as a man and a father in sentencing him for his part in this terrible situation he unknowingly became involved in,” Weldon wrote. “He is not a bad person; he got involved in a very bad situation.

“Shane is a very trusting person and would not have considered the possibility Monty was dragging him into something so sinister and wrong.”

40 COMMENTS

  1. What the h*ll? First time I have heard about this. Really appreciate the reporting Robbie, but this is heartbreaking. Shane is arguably one of the 5 most successful QBs in UF history, and Monty was a terror as a safety back in the early 90’s. He hit like John Lynch from the Bucs. This is awful news, sorry that both of these fellas made some really poor choices. Good gravy, I hope next year goes better for the Gators in staying out of criminal dilemmas. Tired of seeing us being laughed at by the rest of the nation.

  2. When something is too good to be true, like being paid nearly a half million to hire folks, you should be leery. I doubt Matthews thought he was doing something criminal, but only because he probably didn’t want to face the truth. Let’s hope this doesn’t bar him from returning to his employment since he seems to be a good doobie who allowed greed to lead him astray. Greed does that to a lot of people, and matthews should be forgiven. At least he was smart enough to not fight the feds, otherwise he would be getting a lot more than the slap on the wrist he’s now getting. Grow will be an old man when he gets out, and, if he had admitted his guilt in the first place, that might not be the case. Nine times out of ten you lose when going up against the feds, and you should take that into consideration when they get their hooks in you. Now if only they could put the moron in the White House away, we’d be a much better country.

  3. OMG!! Not Shane!! This is sad,very sad. 🙁 What were these guys thinking?!!!!! I hope that no more will be involved in this. Dadgummit Monty!! WTF!!! Youtube “Monty Grow,The Hit”. More to come of this scam i’m sure. This looks very bad for UF. 🙁

    • Sorry dude, UF is in no way responsible for life decisions made by those who attended and played football twenty or so years ago. This ain’t Hernandez, who was guilty (at the very least) of breaking a guy’s eardrum before he ever played a down, and was enabled by the slimy p-o-s who shall remain unnamed.

      • I don’t know where you got the impression that I was blaming UF for the embarrassing developments in Gainesville. We as Gator fans have always relished reading about all the current and former ‘Noles running afoul of the law. Now, with a long list of current and former Gators in trouble with the authorities, we need to ease up on the smirking.

  4. Three months in federal prison seems harsh for a misdemeanor. Rick Scott bilks the federal government out of billions, pleads the 5th 75 times, gets no jail, pockets millions and becomes Governor. Shane’s fully cooperates, gives back all the money and still gets 3 months in federal prison. Shane’s lawyer must really suck. Should have called Huntley Shane.

    • Now you also have the Rick Scott Derangement Syndrome as well? Maybe you just have an overall Republican Derangement Syndrome. And Gator Derangement Syndrome. You are a complex guy, mentally speaking, boyfriend.

      Do everybody you come in contact with a favor boyfriend, go see Dr. Winters. Tell her about all your Derangement Syndromes. She can help.

      • From what I recall reading in the paper, I think he has a point about Gov. Python-on-Ecstasy. A lot of times laws don’t seem to be applied equally to rich and/or connected folks.

        And for the record, I don’t care whether there is a “R” or an “D” after the name of the governor or for that matter, any other elected official. I have no tribal affiliation other than that of Gator Nation.

  5. I really liked both of these players. They gave us a lot of great memories. It’s hard to believe they turned into scumbags. Shane knew what he was getting into. They were disrespecting our vets and their families. No wonder legal drugs are so expensive with scams like this going on.. Shane cooperated with the feds; he probaby wore a wire to get his friend Monty put away. This is sad news.

  6. Hopefully he does no actual time in prison as this article says. Given the circumstances and his cooperation in the investigation home arrest seems more fair. Prison cells should be reserved for those violent criminals who need to be off the streets only!

  7. “I’ll pay you $440,000 to line up some sales people for me.” And that sounds like it was on the up & up? There is poor judgement and their is turning a blind eye. Come on, Shane! And as far as Monty goes, I don’t care how hard he hit when he was playing at Florida. The guy bilked a program that serves military members, veterans, and their families out of $20 million. As a UF Alum and proud veteran I am disgusted on both fronts.

  8. If you do not have any personal knowledge of fraud but you work in industries that can experience violations of the FCA (any health care industry involved with Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE; military and defense government contractors; procurement; or the securities industries), you could spend time educating yourself about the types of false claims frauds that could occur in your field of work.