Irving Fryar has largely lived a quiet life since retiring from football in 2000. The former wide receiver was thrust back into the spotlight on Wednesday, though.
The 17-year NFL veteran, who spent nine highly productive seasons with the Patriots in the ’80s and ’90s, and his 71-year-old mother, Allene McGhee, were indicted on charges of conspiracy in theft as part of a mortgage fraud scam by a grand jury in Fryar’s home state of New Jersey, The Times of Trenton reports.
The two allegedly obtained five home equity loans on McGhee’s house within a six-day span in 2009 in an attempt to swindle banks out of nearly $700,000. Neither was arrested, but both received summons to appear in front of a superior court judge for arraignment.
“Fryar and McGhee allegedly deceived the five banks by applying for and closing on the loans within a short period and purposefully failing to disclose the existence of any prior loans, so each bank funded its loan in the belief that it held the first lien on the property and the loan would be secured by adequate equity,” Jenna Pizzi of The Times explains.
“This is not a case in which Mr. Fryar and his mother simply omitted or misstated information on loan applications,” acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement. “This indictment alleges that they engaged in an elaborate criminal scheme that was designed to defraud these banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is disappointing that someone with an illustrious career in professional sports who now is a minister and coach in the community is charged with this crime, but he must face justice like anyone else.”
Now 51, Fryar serves as a pastor of a self-founded church in Mt. Holly, N.J., and the head varsity football coach at Robbinsville High School. He has been suspended without pay from his coaching position, Robbinsville superintendent Steven Mayer said in a statement.
Fryar was the No. 1 pick in the 1984 NFL draft, the first time a wide receiver had been taken first overall (only Keyshawn Johnson has done so since). He racked up 12,785 receiving yards and 84 touchdowns while playing for the Patriots, Dolphins, Eagles and Redskins. Fryar was a five-time Pro Bowler, and also a member of the Patriots’ 50th anniversary team.
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