By Tim Jimenez
ORLANDO (CBS) – A Florida judge is passing more than three years of jail time to former Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell for his role in a tax fraud scheme that tried to bilk the government out of millions of dollars.
It has been nearly a decade since Mitchell, 34, lined up for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, he’s facing 37 months in federal prison. The former Eagles first-round pick pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file a false tax claim back in March.
According to an IRS investigation stemming from 2009, prosecutors say Mitchell told a professional athlete, only identified in court documents by the initials “A.G.”, a fake story about getting a $1 million refund thanks to the services of former IRS employee Jamie Russ-Walls and her husband Richard Walls.
Court documents show that “A.G.” gave copies of his tax information to the couple and was told he could get extra money back because of “grey areas” in his returns. “A.G.” also gave a $100,000 tax preparation fee to Mitchell, which he then split with the couple.
Prosecutors say, without “A.G.” knowing, the couple filed a false return in his name netting a return of nearly $2 million, with direct deposit slated for Mitchell and Jamie Russ-Walls’ bank accounts. The investigation also revealed five other false 2009 returns totaling more than $2 million.
Russ-Walls and Walls also pleaded guilty and were sentenced in February. Russ-Walls is facing five years of probation while Richard Walls was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison.
Mitchell played 63 games for the Eagles from 2001-2004.