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Photo by John Trainor.

The 2014 college football season doesn’t begin for several more months, but that’s not stopping some University of Georgia (UGA) players from making a name for themselves. Matthews, Taylor and DeLoach and LeMay were arrested earlier this week on multiple charges of theft by deception.

According to UGA police, the four UGA football players were allegedly involved in a check cashing scheme which allowed them to cash stipend checks multiple times. Police say Matthews, Taylor and DeLoach and LeMay first cashed their stipend checks via a mobile app, depositing it directly into their bank accounts. Next, they took the checks to their local bank to cash them a second time.

UGA’s finance department noticed the checks were being cashed twice and immediately launched an investigation. It didn’t take long for authorities to uncover the double-dipping check-cashing plot, at which point they arrested the four players believed to have participated in the scheme, charging them with multiple counts of theft by deception.

The stipend checks are $71.50 each, with the total amount theft loss is believed to be $786.50. The good news for the four UGA players is that all charges are misdemeanors since the thefts were less than $500 each. The bad news is that they will likely miss out on some of the team’s upcoming spring training in addition to facing other consequences and penalties imposed by the university.

Jimmy Williamson, chief of police at the University of Georgia, said the following:

Mayes, DeLoach and Taylor would basically take that check and deposit it through a mobile banking ap. And then within a short period of time would go to a local convenience store and cash the checks. So they basically would cash the check twice. UGA’s finance departments discovered the situation, noticing the checks were posting twice. Williamson spoke to two associate athletics directors about the matter. Besides having to report the matter because it’s a fraud, UGA was concerned with running into an NCAA compliance issue because players were receiving extra benefits.”

Many people believe college sports athletes are able to get free passes for breaking the law, but this case just goes to show that stipend check fraud — whether it’s from a student, athlete or someone who’s not affiliated with the university — is not tolerated. The four players were taken into custody where they were interviewed by UGA police. There’s still no word yet on the consequences faced by the four UGA players.

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