The credit-card fraud scheme that landed Rutgers in the news for the wrong reasons again — and led to the dismissal or suspension of eight football players was allegedly engineered to pay off outstanding parking tickets, according to investigators on the case.
On April 22 — eight days after the Rutgers football team concluded spring camp with the Scarlet-White scrimmage — Brendan DeVera made a $200 deposit to his university credit card, investigators said.
Over the next 11 days, police say the former Scarlet Knights linebacker’s transactions continued to go up, increasing to a total of $2,400 in deposits, according to a four-page complaint obtained by NJ Advance Media.
But the complaint says the scam didn’t stop there.
Authorities say DeVera then became the “organizer’’ of a credit-card fraud scheme that enlisted seven other Rutgers football players last spring and stole a total of $11,450 from victims.
DeVera allegedly used the dark web to snag credit card numbers and transferred funds to various Rutgers Express debit-card accounts for personal use.
The four-month probe concluded Wednesday with the arrests of DeVera, junior defensive back K.J. Gray, redshirt freshman defensive back Edwin Lopez, redshirt junior linebacker Malik Dixon, redshirt freshman linebacker Syhiem Simmons, sophomore defensive end C.J. Onyechi, senior defensive back Kobe Marfo and redshirt freshman defensive back Naijee Jones.
Each player received multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit theft by deception in the third degree and will answer to the allegations in hearings at Middlesex County Superior Court in September and October.
DeVera and Gray are facing second-degree charges that could be punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000.
“While the criminal activity was brought to law enforcement’s attention a couple of months ago, as you can imagine with something like this we need to time to gather the evidence, get the financial records,” Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said Thursday. “Rutgers University Police Department did an excellent job on this case. We’ve been able to work with the credit card companies, and we’re continuing to work backward as we move forward with the investigation.’’
Authorities haven’t identified a motive for what they call “an organized crime.”
But Marfo, in an interview with police on July 6, said he was “trying to help out’’ DeVera, who “was pressed for money because he had parking tickets,’’ according to Marfo’s criminal complaint.
This is an ongoing story.
Courtesy of Keith Sargeant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
You can also check out other ways people get paid on the Darknet here.