In this combination of photos provided by The University of South Dakota are former USD football players, from left: Marquis Butler; Dametrius Turner and Alphonso Valdez. The three, along with 8 others who have pleaded guilty to a tax-refund fraud scheme.
Courtesy University of South Dakota
January 10, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) A former University of South Dakota football player who recruited student-athletes, his girlfriend and others to defraud the IRS is set to be sentenced more than two years after he was indicted.

Alphonso ''Rico'' Valdez will be sentenced on federal fraud charges Monday in Sioux Falls. All 11 people that were part of the ring that prosecutors say filed bogus tax returns to the tune of $1.1 million have pleaded guilty.

Authorities busted the fraud ring after it had already netted about $400,000.

Valdez and five others involved were USD football players while the scheme was going on. USD athletic director David Herbster says the student-athletes ''didn't exhibit'' signs or the spoils of such fraudulent activity.

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