You might know the former NFL cornerback Will James as Will Peterson, but the IRS knows him as someone who didn’t pay his taxes.
James was charged with willful failure to file tax returns on nearly $10 million he earned while playing in the NFL between 2005 and 2009 as a result, and he pleaded guilty to those charges on Wednesday in Camden, New Jersey. James now faces up to two years in prison, $100,000 in fines and also an amount equal to twice what he failed to pay in penalties for his crime.
According to the Newark Star-Ledger, James ignored advice from financial advisers as well as entreaties from the IRS about paying his taxes during the years in question. Those entreaties included both letters and visits to his home, none of which shook James’ conviction when it came to not cutting a check.
James started his NFL career as 2001 third-round pick of the Giants when he was known as Will Peterson. He started 39 games in his first five seasons, although back injuries cost him most of two full seasons and he was cut before the start of the 2006 season. He wound up signing with the Eagles, which is where he changed his name from Peterson to James. James would go on to play for the Jaguars, Lions and 49ers and last played in the NFL in 2010.