UB considering removing Steven Butcher from Athletics Hall of Fame following fraud scheme

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Steven Butcher, a UB Athletics Hall of Fame inductee ‘07, has a sentencing trial set on June 12 after pleading guilty to $45 million of insurance fraud in New Jersey. 

Butcher, the all-time leading scorer in UB men’s soccer history, may not be in the hall of fame for much longer.

Butcher was operating a large fraud scheme that saw his then-company, the Niagara Falls-based MedMax, target New Jersey residents into buying unnecessary prescriptions, according to the conviction documents. UB is in the “process of discussing the status” of Butcher’s hall of fame inclusion on Wednesday, according to UB spokesperson Kate McKenna. 

UB still lists Butcher in the hall of fame online and Butcher’s men’s soccer records still stand in the record books. His name is still listed in the Dr. & Mrs. Edmond J. Gicewicz Family Athletics Hall of Fame wall in Alumni Arena. There is no mention of the fraud scheme in any of the records.

Butcher pleaded guilty shortly after his conviction, which had forfeit close to $4.6 million in “criminal proceeds” and pay restitution of at least $45 million. The UB alum ’99 is charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and violating of the Anti-Kickback Statute, a healthcare fraud and abuse statute. 

“It's not limited to Steve or anybody working with him,” said his lawyer Herbert Greenman at the time of conviction. “There are parts of it where he had gotten involved through other people, that he knows he shouldn't have been involved with and that's pretty much the reason he decided to take the plea.”

The Spectrum contacted Greenman’s office, but he did not reply in time for print.

This isn’t the first time notable alumni were charged with fraud.

UB donor and former UB Foundation board member Stephen Walsh was charged with defrauding $500 million in client investments in 2009. Walsh was a former co-owner and CEO of the NHL's New York Islanders.

In 2001, Walsh “pledged $250,000” to UB Athletics and UB named the basketball office complex after him. After the donation, Walsh agreed to chair an athletics donation campaign committee for UB's $250 million fundraising campaign says UB's website. 

UB Athletics removed his name from the complex in 2011, according to UB spokesperson Cory Nealon. Nealon said “the removal took place following his conviction and return of the donated funds to the plaintiffs.”

Butcher’s sentencing has been moved four times due to lawyers’ and officials’ continued negotiations following the plea, according to New Jersey court reporter Lisa Larson. 

The proceedings will continue at the Newark, New Jersey district court.

*Benjamin Blanchet contributed reporting to this story. 

Thomas Zafonte is the senior features and can be reached at thomas.zafonte@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @Thomas_Spectrum.

THOMAS ZAFONTE


 Thomas Zafonte is a senior English major. He is a UB sports fan and enjoys traveling around Buffalo.