Nine suspended Florida players now face multiple third-degree felony fraud charges
The charges all stem from an investigation into improper debit card charges
Nine Florida players have been suspended since the start of the season and are now facing third-degree felony charges and alleged fraudulent use of credit cards.
The players facing felony charges are running back Jordan Scarlett, wide receivers Antonio Callaway and Rick Wells, defensive linemen Jordan Smith, Keivonnis Davis and Richerd Desir-Jones, linebackers James Houston IV and Ventrell Miller, and offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort.
The nine players all faces at least two felony charges, one for fraud under $20,000 and one for impersonation. Smith faces three additional impersonation charges. Telfort faces a total of 30 felony charges, including the fraud charge, 13 impersonation charges, 12 charges for illegal credit card use and three charges of falsifying his identity.
The nine players have been serving indefinite suspensions since the start of the season.
Complaints were filed against each of the respective players and will now be reviewed by the State Attorney's Office. In the complaints, the investigators discovered that "students had added large amounts of funds electronically to their UF Bookstore debit accounts using one or several different credit cards that did not belong to them. Some of the students even saved the card for future charges. … The students then used the funds in their UF Bookstore debit accounts to purchase items from the UF Bookstore in person."
Most of the players purchased electronics, including Apple laptops, iPads and Beats headphones, with the funds they added to their respective accounts. Telfort is also accused of using the stolen credit cards for multiple food deliveries, which is why he's facing dozens more charges than the others.
"We obviously took this matter very seriously, as evidence by Coach [Jim] McElwain's decision to suspend the players immediately and indefinitely from all team activities," athletics director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. "We have respected the appropriate process from the beginning and will continue to do so."
The biggest names are Callaway and Scarlett, two starters and playmakers on offense. They are each accused of transferring just under $2,000 to their university bookstore accounts. Smith is accused of taking over $5,000 in credit card funds across his schol bookstore and parking accounts. Desir-Jones and Miller each allegedly transferred under $2,000, while Telfort, Davis, Wells and Houston all added $1,500 or less.
Callaway was Florida's leading receiver last season, and he's been a star special teams contributor since beginning his career at Florida. Scarlett led the Gators in rushing yards and touchdowns a year ago. Neither has played a down in 2017, and with these recent charges, it's likely both will miss even more time. Davis was the only other player expected to see significant action this season.
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