sioux falls, sd
Nine people, including several current and former University of South Dakota football players have been arrested on federal conspiracy and identity theft charges.
The federal indictment was handed down Thursday. Many of the men are from Tampa, Florida, but have played football for the University of South Dakota.
The news comes the day before the biggest game of the year for the University of South Dakota. The school is set to play in-state rival South Dakota State University on Saturday for the first time in nearly a decade but will compete without one player.
KELOLAND News has connected at least six of the suspects to USD as having either gone there or still attending school.
Twenty-year-old Christopher Lundy is the only man named in the federal indictment that is still on the active roster for the Coyotes. KELOLAND News has confirmed Lundy will not play in Saturday's game.
Twenty-one-year-old Christopher Frierson is also charged. He played on the football team earlier this year but is no longer listed on the roster.
The indictment lists several former players including 21-year-old Alphonso Valdez and two standouts from last year, 24-year-old Jeremy Blount and 22-year-old Marquis Butler.
Twenty-seven-year-old Terry Liggins is a 2008 USD graduate.
All of the men are accused of being involved in a scheme which involved using stolen social security numbers and birth dates to file bogus income tax returns. The number of claims requested totals more than $1 million. The South Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office says the IRS had actually paid out $500,000 in fraudulent claims before the case came to light.
We'll have more on the charges and the men named in the papers tonight on KELOLAND News.