(CBS/AP) MIAMI - Three former professional football players are among eight charged in a South Florida tax refund and identity theft scheme.
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday the FBI operated an undercover check-cashing store in North Miami used by the suspects from February through April. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent refund checks. The money was paid out of FBI funds and no checks were actually cashed.
Former Oakland Raiders and New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph is one of the former NFL players arrested. The other is running back Michael Bennett, once a Minnesota Vikings first-round pick who played for several teams. A third ex-player, Louis Gachelin, played professionally in Europe.
According to CBS Miami, Joseph and Gachelin were charged Tuesday with with forgery of U.S. Treasury checks, theft of government money, and use of five or more identification documents with unlawful intent. If convicted they could face maximum prison terms of between five and 15 years in prison.
Bennett was charged with wire fraud after allegedly using a false bank statement in an attempt to obtain a $200,000 loan from the same FBI undercover store, CBS Miami reports. According to the criminal complaint, Bennett confessed to the crime after waiving his Miranda rights.