Sioux Falls, SD
A former University of South Dakota football player has admitted he was part of a large tax fraud scheme.
Christopher Lundy, 23, is one of nearly a dozen suspects arrested as part of the conspiracy. He admits he stole birthdates and Social Security numbers, which were used to file bogus tax returns.
Lundy is one of at least five USD football players who were caught up in the tax fraud ring. Investigators say they filed $1 million in tax return claims and were paid out a half-million dollars before they were caught.
On Monday, Lundy admitted in federal court that he emailed names, Social Security numbers and birthdates of six different people to other co-conspirators in the tax fraud ring who used the information to file false tax returns.
The crimes happened while Lundy was a member of the University of South Dakota football team. After the allegations surfaced during the 2012 season, Lundy was not allowed to play against rival South Dakota State.
2012 Story: Six Current, Former USD Athletes Charged
Lundy pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in court Monday, which carries a two year federal prison sentence. But Lundy said in court he didn't know the identity theft was part of a tax fraud scheme. He said he just knew he was going to get paid.
"I knew it was to get money. I didn't understand the depth of the tax returns and all that," Lundy told Judge Karen Schreier.
Lundy said he was paid a 'couple hundred' dollars for the identities that he turned over to the other suspects in the case.
He's the sixth person to plead guilty.
The others who have already pleaded guilty are:
- Charlie Adams
- Melissa Dinataly
- Dametrius Turner
- Raunta Ellison
- Nathan Singletary III
Three of those co-defendants have also pleaded guilty to identity theft and been sentenced to two years in prison. It’s the same fate that awaits Lundy when he's sentenced in November.