Former NFL WR gets 3 years for tax fraud scheme



ORLANDO, Fla. - Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in an elaborate tax fraud scheme in Orange County.

While Mitchell told Channel 9 last week that he was sorry for what he did, he was in no mood to talk as he walked out of court on Tuesday.

The former first-round draft pick, who made millions in the NFL, pleaded guilty earlier to a scheme where he recruited athletes as clients for a tax return service. The couple running that service then filed returns with made-up business losses and earnings, authorities said.

IRS investigators found that the 34-year-old Lakeland native recruited 20 athletes to use the tax service that filed phony claims amounting to millions of dollars in illegal refunds.

A return for one athlete, who did not know about the scheme, was nearly $2 million, authorities said.

Mitchell's attorneys argued Mitchell suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a type of brain injury they said he received from playing in the NFL, which recently admitted is linked to pro football.

Mitchell's attorneys had asked that he only receive supervised release so that he could get treatment for CTE.

Mitchell's defense attorneys showed a two-hour documentary about brain injuries and the NFL to bolster their argument.

Prosecutors argued none of the men in the video committed any fraud because of their brain injuries.

The NFL recently agreed to pay $220 million for NFL players to be evaluated for CTE.

In the end, the judge did not buy it and sentenced Mitchell to 37 months in a Florida federal prison.