Saturday, September 22, 2018
  • USF Sports Bulletin
  • Joey Knight

Former Gators QB Shane Matthews headed to prison

Former Gators QB Shane Matthews, who helped launch Steve Spurrier's wildly successful Fun 'n' Gun offense at Florida, is headed to prison.

So is one of his former teammates.

Matthews, 47, was sentenced in a south Florida court last week to three months in prison for a minor role in a healthcare fraud conspiracy. He had pleaded guilty in August to one count of causing a drug to be misbranded.

Matthews became involved in the scheme — unknowingly, his lawyer says — through former Gators LB Monty Grow, who hired Matthews to join an independent marketing team that ultimately bilked millions from the TRICARE program for military members, veterans and their families.

Grow, a 46-year-old former Citrus High star, was convicted of healthcare fraud conspiracy by a federal jury Monday. He also was 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 spent parts of three seasons in the NFL, faces up to 20 years in prison. He was taken into custody immediately.

Matthews, a two-time SEC Player of the Year who later spent 14 years in the NFL, is expected to be incarcerated in a federal facility close to Gainesville, where he still resides. He must surrender on or before June 1, and faces a forfeiture of $439,675 against him.

Matthews, a radio personality and high school assistant coach in Gainesville, issued a statement Monday night to The Gainesville Sun saying he entered into employment with Grow thinking he was taking a legitimate job. When approached by authorities in 2016, he said he cooperated fully.

"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," Matthews' attorney, Miles Kinsell, said in a separate statement to the newspaper.

"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."