Eight Rutgers football players are facing charges after they became involved in a credit card fraud scam using the dark web, according to NJ.com.
Rutgers linebacker Brendan DeVera allegedly used the dark web to obtain credit card numbers starting in April shortly after the Scarlet Knights’ spring game, and then would transfer money to several Rutgers Express debit card — which is connected to student’s university ID and accepted across campus — accounts for personal use. The scam started simply after he needed to pay off several outstanding parking tickets. Over 11 days, DeVera deposited $2,400 onto the debit cards.
DeVera then became the “organizer” of the scam and recruited seven other football players to join him. In total, they stole $11,450.
All eight players — Devera, DB K.J. Gray, DB Edwin Lopez, LB Malik Dixon, LB Syhiem Simmons, DE C.J. Onyechi, DB Kobe Marfo and DB Naijee Jones — were arrested on Wednesday and recieved multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit theft by deception in the third degree, according to NJ.com.
DeVara and Gray, who are considered the ringleaders of the scam, are also facing second-degree charges that could be punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000.
While they haven’t released a motive, police told NJ.com that Marfo said he was “trying to help out” DeVera because he “was pressed for money because he had parking tickets.”
“We are very disappointed and frustrated,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said. “We have been working extremely hard to build a culture of excellence across the department and this news detracts from the great strides we have made. We will continue that work.”
DeVera, Gray, Simmons and Lopez have since left the team and the university. The other four remain in enrolled at Rutgers, though are off the team. Their status as Rutgers students won’t be determined until after their court date, according to NJ.com.
“While the criminal activity was brought to law enforcement’s attention a couple of months ago, as you can imagine with something like this we need to time to gather the evidence, get the financial records,” Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey told NJ.com. “Rutgers University Police Department did a very good job on this case. We’ve been able to work with the credit card companies and we’re continuing to work backwards as we move forward with the investigation.’’
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