Ex-NFL player Kenbrell Thompkins guilty of identify theft, COVID-19 relief fraud

MIAMI -- An ex-NFL wide receiver and South Florida native pleaded guilty in stealing identities in order to fraudulently receive California coronavirus-related unemployment benefits.
According to court records, Kenbrell Armod Thomaskins, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of unauthorized device fraud and aggravated identity theft. At his Jan. 6 sentencing, he could spend up to 12 years behind bars.

A plea agreement states that Thompkins used stolen identities to obtain fraudulent unemployment benefits from California. Prosecutors said that California distributed the unemployment benefit funds in the form of debit cards and sent them to Thompkins' addresses in Miami and Aventura.

Prosecutors said that Thompkins used the debit cards in August and September 2020 to withdraw money at ATMs throughout Miami-Dade County. The scheme was estimated to have involved $300,000. In California unemployment insurance funds, about $230,000 of it was withdrawn.

Thompkins was undrafted-free by the New England Patriots in 2013. He has also been a member the Oakland Raiders, and the New York Jets.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was passed by Congress last year. It provides financial assistance to individuals and businesses to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.