Ex-NFL player Kenbrell Thompkins charged with identity theft, unemployment fraud

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Former NFL player Kenbrell Thompkins has been charged with fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits that were meant for people who lost their jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thompkins, a wide receiver who played for the Patriots, Raiders and Jets, was charged by federal indictment with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to prosecutors, Thompkins used the stolen identities of numerous Florida residents to obtain fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits from the State of California. California mailed its unemployment benefits in the form of debit cards where cash could be withdrawn at ATMs, and Thompkins is accused of withdrawing approximately $230,000.

“To anyone thinking of using the global pandemic as an opportunity to scam and steal from hardworking Americans, my advice is simple – don’t,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid said in a statement. “No matter where you are or who you are, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Thompkins caught on with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie in 2013 and had a surprisingly successful season, catching 32 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns. But he played only sparingly for the rest of his NFL career.