National News

Oct 27, 2012 4:03 PM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Viking top pick gets 15 months for fraud

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A former NFL first-round draft pick has received a 15-month federal sentence for participating in a Florida fraud scheme.

Michael Bennett was sentenced Friday in Fort Lauderdale federal court. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

Bennett was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2002 and played for six teams, last appearing for the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

Prosecutors say the FBI operated an undercover check-cashing store in North Miami used by Bennett, two other former football players and five others from February through April. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks.

Bennett's attorney says Bennett "had nothing to do with cashing fraudulent tax checks, nor was he charged with such."

Former Raiders and New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph and former Syracuse player Louis Gacheline are awaiting sentencing on related charges.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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