Three former National Football League players have been arrested by the FBI on federal charges in connection with an alleged scheme to steal people’s identities and file false tax returns in others’ names, according to authorities.
The three ex-NFL players charged with defrauding the federal government and ID theft are: William Joseph, a University of Miami defensive tackle drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2003; Michael Bennett, a University of Wisconsin running back also drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001; and Louis Gachelin, a Syracuse University defensive tackle who was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2004.
Joseph and Gachelin are Miami natives; Bennett was born in Milwaukee. All three were questioned after their arrests Monday by FBI agents at the bureau’s North Miami Beach regional office. They were then transferred to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami for court appearances Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube, according to the clerk’s office. Details of the alleged scheme are expected to be disclosed in a criminal complaint to be released later Tuesday.
FBI spokesman Mike Leverock declined to comment.
As part of a related investigation, the FBI also arrested about a half-dozen other defendants Monday.
Authorities say the latest tax-related fraud case, while unique because of the ex-NFL defendants, is yet another indication of escalating identity-theft crimes in South Florida.
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