Former NFL Player Kenbrell Thompkins Pleads Guilty In COVID-19 Fraud Scheme

Photo: Youtube Screenshot/Winnipeg Bombers

Former NFL wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who played his college ball at Cincinnati and made the New England Patriots roster in 2013-14, has pleaded guilty to stealing multiple identities to collect insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former wideout now faces up to 12 years in prison.

He reportedly stole upwards of $300,000 using many different Floridians’ identities out in Tinseltown. Thompkins’ claim to fame prior to this was catching a game-winning touchdown from Tom Brady with five seconds left in a game versus the New Orleans Saints during the 2013 season.

Following that season he’d go on to play two more in the league before fizzling out. Thompkins was productive during his three seasons in the league (2013-2015). He had 70 catches for 893 yards and four TDs in games for the Patriots, NY Jets and Oakland Raiders.

He also played a season in the CFL as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

With his football playing days behind him, Thompkins resorted to stealing from a relief fund set up to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thompkins isn’t the first athlete to get caught in a scheme to steal funds, as former NFL running back Clinton Portis now faces 10-years for a health care fraud scheme.

Portis made fraudulent reimbursement claims to the NFL health care fund which paid a lot of the out-of-pocket medical expenses for former players.

Just like Thompkins, Portis pleaded guilty on the advice of his lawyer after a hung jury ruling was rendered. Portis and Thompkins are both scheduled to be sentenced on the same day, Jan. 6.

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Earlier this month the NBA took it’s turn at one of these schemes as former players Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Terence Williams and 16 others were charged by federal authorities with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in the amount of $4 million against the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Program. It’s basically the same thing Thompkins was doing by falsifying documentation, but they stopped short of stealing identities.

Even NFL legend Brett Favre was caught up in the largest welfare benefits fraud case in Mississippi history.

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Thompkins has pled guilty and thrown himself on the mercy of the court in hopes of getting a shorter sentence. But that may be far-fetched, seeing that he is one in a long list of former athetes involved in a scheme to steal money from programs set up to actually improve the lives of others.

In Thompkins’ case, he was stealing from funds that are allocated to help in a time of crisis, when a global pandemic has ravaged the world and damaged many people’s lives forever. Although Thompkins is not a current NFL player, his transgressions still resonate within the NFL community. It’s just a bad look for the sport and its former players.