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Former Minnesota Viking pleads guilty to fraud

Minnesota Vikings fans will recall that Michael Bennett was our first round draft pick in 2001. He came to us from the University of Wisconsin where he completed a record-setting 40-yard dash in 4.13 seconds. His first year with the Vikings he replaced Roger Smith. His second year with the Vikings he rushed for 1,296 yards and caught 351 receptions for a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Recently, Bennett pleaded guilty to fraud in Miami. He and seven others, including two other former NFL players, were accused of cashing fraudulent income tax refund checks.

As we have previously reported in this blog, the Internal Revenue Service is cracking down on all forms of issues from tax compliance and offshore accounts to non-filers and tax return identity theft.

According to reliable sources, the IRS set up an underground check cashing operation. Starting in February and ending in April, the undercover operation cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent tax return checks using stolen identities. Bennett was accused of being one of those who used the undercover operation to cash checks.

The former Viking pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in exchange for the prosecution recommending less than the potential 20-year prison sentence.

IRS tax controversies are serious matters which can lead to actual prison time in addition to penalties and interest on any taxes that are owed. One only needs to recall that Al Capone spent the last years of his life in prison not for murder, but for tax evasion.

Source: HuffPost, "Michael Bennett, Former Minnesota Vikings Running Back, Pleads Guilty To Fraud," Aug. 7, 2012

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