Former NFL wide receiver Kenbrell Armod Thompkins has pled guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of unauthorized access device fraud. Thompkins is one of many cases that federal officials have pursued involving COVID-19 relief fraud ranging from PPP loans for small businesses to individual benefits.
"DOJ announced that the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section has prosecuted more than 100 defendants in more than 70 criminal cases since the PPP began and has seized more than $65 million in cash, as well as luxury items purchased using fraudulently obtained funds," San Francisco based law firm Morrison Foerster LLP reports.
"We believe that those numbers underreport enforcement to date and, in any case, may be just the tip of the iceberg."
The ex-NFL wide receiver is facing interstate accusations pertaining to individual relief funds. According to court documents obtained by NBC News, Thompkins stole the identities of Florida residents in order to obtain COVID-19 unemployment insurance benefits in California. The insurance benefits were distributed as debit cards that were sent to addresses associated with Thompkins in Florida. The scheme involved approximately $300,000 in insurance funds and approximately $230,000 was used.
Thompkins played 33 games in the NFL from 2013-2015. Playing for the Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots and New York Jets, he caught 70 passes for 893 yards and four touchdowns. He also won a Super Bowl title with the Patriots in 2015.
Now, Thompkins faces up to 12 years in prison for a variety of COVID-19 relief crimes.