CRIME

Former University of South Dakota football player gets 5 years for $400,000 IRS fraud scheme

In this combination of photos provided by The University of South Dakota are former USD football players, from left: Marquis Butler; Dametrius Turner and Alphonso Valdez. The three, along with 8 others who have pleaded guilty to a tax-refund fraud scheme. Valdez will be sentenced on federal fraud charges Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Courtesy University of South Dakota)

In this combination of photos provided by The University of South Dakota are former USD football players, from left: Marquis Butler; Dametrius Turner and Alphonso Valdez. The three, along with 8 others who have pleaded guilty to a tax-refund fraud scheme. Valdez will be sentenced on federal fraud charges Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Courtesy University of South Dakota)  (The Associated Press)

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.