Former New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is in some significant trouble with the law.
The 32-year-old has been charged with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to charges filed by federal prosecutors, Thompkins allegedly stole the identity of several residents of Florida.
The former Cincinnati Bearcats star allegedly used the stolen identities to collect close to $300,000 in unemployment insurance benefits from the state of California. Thompkins’ name was released by South Florida officials who are investigating CARES Act fraud, which was the first COVID-19 relief bill.
Prosecutors allege Thompkins used the stolen identities to send debit cards with unemployment benefits to his addresses in Miami and Aventura, Florida. Reports indicate Thompkins withdrew $230,000 from ATMs in just over a month from mid-August to late September.
According to the United States District Court of South Florida’s official criminal complaint, Thompkins was identified on surveillance cameras primarily because of a “distinctive” tattoo on his left arm. Thompkins allegedly used the debit cards at several Bank of America branches.
The investigation kicked into high gear in January when a search warrant was executed at Thompkins’ Aventura home. There, authorities recovered handwritten notes with the names and social security numbers of multiple victims in the crime.
This Isn’t Thompkins’ First Brush With the Law
Thompkins had seemingly escaped the entrapments of the environment he grew up in Liberty City, Florida. In high school, Thompkins was arrested for armed robbery and drug possession.
Still, he’d manage to attend Cincinnati and to play 33 games in the NFL with three different teams. By landing an NFL career with the Patriots, and later two other NFL teams and a CFL squad, Thompkins had overcome the odds, establishing himself as a bit of a feel-good story.
Unfortunately, things may have gone left again for Thompkins with these charges. It’s unbelievable how quickly a person’s situation can change.
Thompkins’ NFL Career
The Patriots signed Thompkins as an undrafted free agent in 2013. As a 25-year-old rookie, he played in 12 games and started eight of those contests.
In his first season, he had 32 catches for 466 yards and four touchdowns. Those grabs included a memorable last-second game-winning grab from Tom Brady to beat the New Orleans Saints.
Thompkins began the 2014 season with the Patriots but was released in October. Thompkins would then land with the Oakland Raiders, where he played 12 games and had six starts. For the Raiders, Thompkins played in 12 games and started six.
He had 15 more receptions for Oakland and 209 yards. The Patriots added Thompkins to their practice squad in September 2015, but he was again released less than a month after being brought back. Thompkins played seven games for the New York Jets in 2015 before heading north to play in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2018.
At 6’1″ 198 pounds, Thompkins brought decent size to the wide receiver position, but he went undrafted after failing to post impressive numbers at the NFL Combine.
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