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Michael Bennett, former Vikings Pro Bowl RB, busted by FBI in tax fraud case

Michael Bennett was once known for his speed. Now, less than two years removed from his last NFL action, the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Vikings standout has been busted for trying to pull a fast one on what turned out to be an FBI-run fake check-cashing business.

On Monday, Bennett, 33, was arrested along with fellow former NFL player William Joseph for financial fraud.

Bennett and Joseph were ensnared by an FBI sting operation that involved setting up a fake check-cashing storefront in North Miami. Arraignments are scheduled for May 15.

Joseph and six accomplices have been charged with cashing a total of about $500,000 in fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks. They forged signatures on the checks and fake ID's to defraud both the federal government and unsuspecting taxpayers of tax returns.

Bennett and Joseph were teammates with the Oakland Raiders in 2010 -- it turned out to be the last season either of them would see NFL action -- and according to The Miami Herald, Joseph introduced Bennett to the fake check-cashing store after both of them finished their NFL careers and moved to Florida.

According to a criminal complaint, on April 18, Bennett tried to obtain a $200,000 loan from the fake business, using a UBS financial statement falsely showing he had $9 million in collateral. He has been charged with wire fraud.

After a decade in the NFL and with a Big Ten education to his credit, shouldn't Bennett have enough actual collateral to take out a large loan without having to resort to fraud? His sad case is more evidence that the first call pro athletes should make after signing a multi-million-dollar contract is to a financial adviser.


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