A former New England Patriots wide receiver has pleaded guilty to stealing identities to fraudulently obtain coronavirus-related unemployment insurance benefits in California.
Kenbrell Thompkins, 33, pleaded guilty Monday in Miami federal court to one count of unauthorized access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to court records. He faces up to 12 years in prison at his scheduled Jan. 6 sentencing.
Thompkins appeared in 14 games for the Patriots between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, catching 38 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns from Tom Brady.
According to a plea agreement, Thompkins used the stolen identities of numerous Florida residents to obtain fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits from the state of California. California distributed these unemployment benefit funds as debit cards, which were mailed to addresses associated with Thompkins in Miami and nearby Aventura, prosecutors said.
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In August and September 2020, Thompkins used these debit cards to withdraw funds at various ATMs in Miami-Dade County, prosecutors said. They said the scheme involved approximately $300,000 in California unemployment insurance funds, out of which about $230,000 of the funds were withdrawn.
Thompkins, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, also played for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders. He hadn't appeared in a regular season game since 2015.