When Football Stars Turn Into Fraudsters


Sarah Hofmann
ACFE Public Relations Specialist

Although still not officially a U.S. holiday, the Super Bowl ranks up there with the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving as one of the most American days of the year. Families and friends gather around food and yell at the television as if the players can hear them. While football players are often lauded as heroes on the field, some players fall far from grace by turning to fraud when their sometimes short careers are over. Here are some of the most notable footballers-turned-fraudsters.

Will Allen
After 11 years in the NFL as a cornerback, Allen found himself intercepted by the SEC when he was arrested for orchestrating a $32 million Ponzi scheme. The former New York Giant and Miami Dolphin ran Capital Financial Partners LLC with his partner Susan Daub. Allen convinced investors the company would provide short-term, high-interest loans to athletes, while he pocketed nearly $4 million for himself. When questioned by the SEC, Allen allegedly forged signatures on important documents to cover up his crimes. He has yet to be formally charged but faces 23 felony counts and up to 240 years in prison.

Irving Fryar
Fryar may have been lucky enough to score the only touchdown for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX in 1986, but the wide receiver’s luck ran out 15 years after he retired from the league. In 2015, Fryar and his mother were found guilty of mortgage fraud in New Jersey Superior. In 2009, they obtained multiple home equity loans while using the same property as collateral. Fryar was ordered to pay $615,600 in restitution to the banks affected by the fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Freddie Mitchell
He played in Super bowl XXXIX, but former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mitchell may have flown a little too high when he created the company Chameleon LLC. That company, along with him as an individual, filed a number of fraudulent tax returns, amounting up to $3.3 million. He pleaded guilty and, according to Accounting Web, he blames multiple concussions he sustained during his football career for making him too trusting of a person. He alleges that he was the victim of a fraudster posing as an IRS agent. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison in 2013.

Arthur J. Marshall Jr.
Marshall Jr. never made a splash on the field, spending only five years in the NFL from 1991-1996, but he managed to leave his mark in another way when he was convicted of an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme in 2009. He was charged with 22 felonies including falsifying sales contracts and personal finance records that left multiple banks on the hook for millions in bad debt. He was ordered to pay $3.6 in restitution and was sentenced to 69 months in prison.

Mark Ingram Sr.
Ingram Sr. may have a Super Bowl ring from being a wide receiver for the Super Bowl XXV champion New York Giants, but he also has a less impressive record as a felon. He retired from football in 1996 and was charged with federal money laundering and bank fraud charges in 2008. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and was ordered to pay $252,000 in restitution. His son, Mark Ingram Jr. is currently a running back for the New Orleans Saints; he was picked in the same round and at the same number as his father.

So while you cheer on your favored team in the big game, keep in mind that there may be a future fraudster playing on that field.