User uShare Login | Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.

59° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options



Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.


[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!


Fmr. USD Students In Court On Fraud Charges

December 10, 2012, 5:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Fmr. USD Students In Court On Fraud Charges

Four former University of South Dakota football players, and two other defendants, appeared in Sioux Falls federal court Monday, accused of stealing identities and filing bogus tax returns.

Many of the students are from Florida but Monday was their first time appearing in South Dakota court.

A total of nine people were arrested back in November on conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges. Six of them have ties to USD but only one of them is still enrolled there.

They were caught after an officer on the Vermillion Police Department noticed a suspicious subject at a local ATM this spring.  That tip led to the discovery of the organized crime that was being run right out of a USD dorm room.

Charlie Adams, 21, and former University of South Dakota football player Jeremy Blount, 24, were just two of the six who appeared in federal court Monday in Sioux Falls on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aggravated Identity Theft.

Christopher Frierson, 21, also made his first court appearance Monday. Frierson was on the USD football team earlier this year, but left for violating team rules unrelated to the federal charge that he now faces.

Court documents say the three men along with 22-year-old Marquis Butler and 21-year-old Alphonso 'Rico' Valdez, who appeared in court Monday as well, worked together to gather up names, birthdates and social security numbers and file fake tax returns. The five men along with four others cashed in a half million dollars worth of bogus tax refunds before they were caught.

The case was cracked in April by a Vermillion Police officer investigating a suspicious person at a local ATM. Authorities say Alphonso 'Rico' Valdez was trying to withdraw $900 from a preloaded debit card.

The investigation led them to a USD dorm room. There detectives say they found at least one instance where the men collected more than $7,000 after filing a fake return. That discovery launched a more than six-month investigation. Two others charged in the case, former Student Government Association President Terry Liggins and USD football player Christopher Lundy, were in court last month.

If convicted, the men could face up to a dozen years in federal prison.

Melissa Dinataly, 22, of Tampa, Florida, also appeared in court in South Dakota Monday. She has no connection to USD.

Another man, Raunta Ellison, also has no connection to USD and has not appeared in court yet.

Everyone who was in court Monday pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Previous Story

Next Story





View news

You may also like

Harrisburg High School Principal Shot, Shooter In Custody

9/30/2015 10:28 AM

Authorities said a 16-year-old student fired a gun at the school Wednesday morning. Law enforcement said the injury was a flesh wound.

Full Story
Assistant Principal Called A Hero After Tackling Shooter

9/30/2015 1:03 PM

"I can't speak highly enough of what kind of person that is," Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens said.

Full Story
16-Year-Old Teen Found Dead On Interstate 90

10/2/2015 10:48 AM

Authorities did not identify the victim, but described him as a 16 year old from Minnehaha County.

Full Story
Body On I-90 Identified

10/2/2015 4:02 PM

The teenager found dead on Interstate 90 has been identified as an O'Gorman High School student.

Full Story
Body Found Dead On I-90

10/1/2015 11:38 PM

At 10:45 p.m. Thursday, deputies found a body at Interstate 90 and North Kiwanis Avenue, near the Interstate 29 interchange.

Full Story