The nine Florida Gators who’ve been suspended since the beginning of the football season are staring down serious legal trouble, though to different degrees.
Sworn complaints against each of them surfaced last month, and they’re each now facing multiple potential felony charges. Most appear likely to avoid those charges by if they complete a pretrial intervention program.
The complaints are different against each, but it’s become clear that the allegations against Florida’s players center on identity fraud, credit card fraud, and resultant theft. The specifics of the allegations had previously been cloudy.
Which Gators are suspended and named in these complaints?
- Kadeem Telfort, a freshman offensive lineman
- Antonio Callaway, a junior wide receiver
- Jordan Scarlett, a junior running back
- Keivonnis Davis, a junior defensive lineman
- Richerd Desir-Jones, a sophomore defensive lineman
- Jordan Smith, a freshman defensive lineman
- James Houston, a freshman linebacker
- Ventrell Miller, a freshman linebacker
- Rick Wells, a freshman receiver
Telfort’s up top because he’s facing the most potential charges: 30.
Those had been “complaints,” filed by UF’s police department. Seven players are now facing credit card fraud charges, which they’ll have a chance to get dropped.
Which crimes are these players accused of committing?
Everything starts with credit card usages that police say were made through personal accounts at Florida’s university bookstore. Players used credit cards to purchase iPads, laptops, and Beats headphones, among other goods, according to the police. They say the fraudulent purchases weren’t limited to the bookstore.
The police say the credit cards involved weren’t the players’, but belonged to other people scattered around the country.
Every potential charge listed here is a felony.
Thirteen counts of using/possessing another person’s identification without consent, 12 counts of credit card fraud, four forgery counts, and one count of fraudulently obtaining property worth less than $20,000.
Police say Telfort used credit cards belonging to people all over the country to put money in his UF bookstore account and buy things ranging from iPads and laptops to delivery food. Police cite frequent food purchases from 352 Delivery in Gainesville. In one case, they say Telfort fraudulently bought $22.82 worth of Chester’s Hot Fires, Funyuns, Gatorade, Sour Patch Kids, and Gummy Worms (with fees and tip included).
Four counts of using/possessing another person’s identification without consent, one count of fraudulently obtaining property worth less than $20,000.
Police say Smith made a series of attempts (successful and not) to add between $800 and $2,500 to his bookstore account using cards that weren’t his. Smith is accused of fraudulently buying multiple Mac computers, multiple sets of Beats headphones, and Bluetooth speakers. He also used someone else’s card to add nearly $1,500 to his school parking and transportation account, the police say.
Everybody else (entering an intervention program)
One count of using/possessing another person’s identification without consent, and one count of fraudulently obtaining property valued at under $20,000.
Those stem from a variety of alleged fraudulent transactions. Apple products and Beats (which are sort of Apple products themselves) come up often. The allegations vary, but they boil down to players stealing identities and money.
Police accuse Scarlett of adding $1,940 from a card owner in Carlsbad, Calif., to his girlfriend’s student debit account. Police say his girlfriend told them she didn’t know the money was stolen and that it had come from an agent in New York. That’d be an NCAA violation, and it would leave open the possibility that this case gets weirder.
When did this all happen, according to the police?
Police got involved on Aug. 15, after the bookstore’s management alerted them to a possible fraud case. The bulk of the alleged crimes occurred in July and August. The first fraudulent transactions alleged by police: Telfort making several attempts to add money to his bookstore account on June 26. Three attempts were declined before Telfort added $650 from a card belonging to a man in Hoschton, Ga., police say.
Are the players facing prison time?
That’s unlikely for the seven entering the intervention program, which would result in their cases being dismissed if they follow the program to completion.
Those players have to pay restitution to defrauded victims, ESPN reported, and comply with other program rules.
"After reviewing the facts involved, the relative roles and culpability of the various defendants, and their individual backgrounds, seven of the defendants have been identified as being qualified for participation in a statutory felony pre-trial intervention program," [state attorney Bill] Cervone said in a statement. "This program reflects the legislative intent and policy of the State of Florida mandating that offenders such as these defendants be given an opportunity to avoid potential lifelong consequences associated with a felony prosecution and conviction, provided that they comply with program requirements."
The completion of a pretrial intervention program usually gets a charge completely erased from a person’s record.
Telfort and Smith are the two players not entering the program, ESPN reported, as they’re still under investigation.
What’s going to happen to their football careers?
It’s University of Florida policy that students facing felony charges can’t participate in student activities, according to Alligator Army’s Andy Hutchins. Also, the head coach says this:
Do potential felony charges change things with Jim McElwain and suspended #Gators? "“Darn right” he says— Matt Baker (@MBakerTBTimes) September 25, 2017
We’re not likely to see any of them playing for a while.
How important are these players to Florida’s chances?
Callaway and Scarlett have been the two most consequential losses. Callaway came into the year as the Gators’ top returning wideout, and Scarlett was supposed to start at running back. Telfort and Smith are former four-star recruits, and a handful of these players would otherwise be contributing this season.