SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A former University of South Dakota football player who recruited student-athletes to defraud the IRS has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Alphonso "Rico" Valdez received the 61-month punishment Monday in Sioux Falls. He pleaded guilty in October to federal charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and aggravated identity theft.
All 11 people involved in the scheme to defraud the IRS of $1.1 million by filing bogus tax returns have pleaded guilty. The fraud ring netted about $400,000 over nearly a year.
Valdez and five others were USD football players at the time.
Valdez's attorney, Jason Tupman, says Valdez "profited substantially less" than others involved in the scheme and didn't recruit everyone involved.
Valdez, of Tampa, Florida, was also ordered to help pay $421,000 in restitution.