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Former Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins charged with identity theft, unemployment fraud

Related: Charges against Robert Kraft dropped in Florida prostitution case

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Kenbrell Thompkins spent just one-and-a-half seasons with the New England Patriots, but he still managed to make one of the most memorable plays of the last decade. Thompkins caught the game-winning touchdown in an improbably comeback win over the New Orleans Saints — one of 32 passes he caught in his first year as a Patriot.

A former undrafted free agent, he burst onto the scene during the 2013 season and finished as New England’s number four wide receiver. Thompkins took his 32 catches for 466 yards and four touchdowns.

However, he was never able to build onto his early success. After catching six passes for 53 yards early during the 2014 season, the Patriots released him. He spent time with the Oakland Raiders, returned shortly to New England in 2015 via the practice squad, and eventually finished his NFL career with the New York Jets.

In total, Thompkins caught 70 passes for 893 yards and four scores in three seasons as a pro. He later also spent time in the Canadian Football League.

Since his retirement, the now-32-year-old has been quiet. However, he made the headlines earlier this week. Thompkins allegedly defrauded the State of California out of $300,000 in unemployment benefits during the Coronavirus pandemic. He has been charged with device fraud and aggravated identity theft according to a press release by the United State’s Attorney’s Office:

Kenbrell Armod Thompkins, 32, of Miami, Florida, a former National Football League (NFL) player, was charged by federal indictment with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. It is alleged in court documents that Thompkins used the stolen identities of numerous Florida residents to obtain fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits from the State of California. California distributed these unemployment benefit funds in the form of debit cards, which were subsequently mailed to addresses associated with Thompkins in Miami and Aventura, Florida.

Court documents allege that from August 16 through September 23, 2020, Thompkins used these debit cards to withdraw funds at various ATMs in Miami-Dade County. The alleged scheme involves approximately $300,000 in California unemployment insurance funds credited to the fraudulent debit cards associated with Thompkins, out of which approximately $230,000 of the funds were withdrawn. U.S. Secret Service, DOL-OIG, and City of Aventura Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eduardo Gardea, Jr., is prosecuting it.

If found guilty of fraud, Thompkins faces up to 10 years in prison.

According to Over The Cap, he is estimated to have earned over $1.4 million over the course of his NFL career.