Former NFL wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins has pleaded guilty to a scheme in which he used stolen identities in order to fraudulently obtain money from the COVID Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. According to a report by Ethan Sears of the New York Post, Thompkins pled guilty to one count of unauthorized access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity fraud.
According to court records, Thompkins allegedly used stolen identities of residents of the state of Florida to apply for COVID unemployment benefits from the state of California. As a result, Thompkins was sent approximately $300,000 in debit cards to South Florida addresses that he set up, $230,000 of which he withdrew at various ATMs in Miami-Dade County. Thompkins' sentencing is scheduled for January 6, and he faces up to 12 years in prison.
Thompkins had extensive legal troubles growing up in Miami. Thompkins was arrested seven times before he turned 19 years old, including on armed robbery charges that resulted in hi expulsion from Northwestern High School.
A former undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, Thompkins spent three seasons in the NFL split between the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, and New York Jets. Thompkins' best work came as a rookie with the Patriots in 2013, when he caught 32 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns with an average of 14.6 yards per reception. Thompkins' finest moment came in Week 6 of that season, when he caught the game-winning touchdown against the New Orleans Saints with five seconds left to play.
Thompkins later finished his NFL career with 70 receptions for 893 yards and four TDs, and last played professionally for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2018. In his lone CFL season, Thompkins caught 29 passes for 421 yards and a single touchdown.