College athletes ran tax-refund fraud scheme, netted $400K

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.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.