Former New York Jets Football Player Pleads Guilty in COVID Fraud Case
The story you're about to read will make you miss the days when Kenbrell Thompkins was simply a low-ceiling wide receiver playing in New England and New York.
Unfortunately, the 33-year old ex-NFLer is in the news for a much worse reason than that. Here's the latest from the Associated Press and ESPN:
"Kenbrell Armod Thompkins, 33, pleaded guilty Monday in Miami federal court to one count of unauthorized access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to court records." - The Associated Press via ESPN
Thompkins last played in the NFL in 2015 with the New York Jets, after signing with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He attempted a comeback in the CFL in 2019, but was released by the team the same year, and has yet to play since.
Now, he's facing up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Thompkins' legal issues stem from him using stolen and false identities in order to receive unemployment benefits, which were distributed by the state of California for those whose employment status was affected by COVID-19. According to the article linked above, around $300,000 was involved in this scheme.
Thompkins pled guilty to two crimes in a Miami federal court.
This isn't the first time that Thompkins has been involved with the law. Thompkins grew up in a rough neighborhood in Florida (Liberty City if you're in for a Google search), and his issues with the law started well before his college football career began.
First base coach and outfielder instructor Reggie Willits is leaving the Yankees to become a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma, his alma mater, the team announced Thursday.
“Middle school was when I started hanging with the wrong crowd and doing things that I shouldn’t be doing, as far as selling drugs, smoking marijuana, stealing and picking fights — thinking it was the right thing to do at the time.” - Kenbrell Thompkins via The News Record
Though he committed to the University of Oklahoma after playing two seasons at El Camino College in California, Thompkins was never actually allowed to play for the Sooners because of their policy against players with past legal troubles. He found a home with the University of Cincinnati, which is where he played before signing with the New England Patriots.
It's another chapter in the heartbreaking story that is the life and times of Kenbrell Thompkins.