ORLANDO — Former NFL player Freddie Mitchell faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Friday to conspiracy to file a false tax claim with the government.
Mitchell, 34, of Lakeland, admitted to working with former Internal Revenue Service employee Jamie Russ-Walls and her husband Richard Walls to file false tax claims on behalf of another professional athlete. Mitchell told the other athlete — referred to by the U.S. Attorney's Office as "A.G." — Russ-Walls could get A.G. extra money back from the IRS.
A.G. paid Mitchell $100,000 as a down payment for a tax preparation fee, which Mitchell, Russ-Walls and Walls split, according to a plea agreement. The three then filed a false 2008 tax return for A.G., claiming $5.4 million in false business losses resulting in a refund of nearly $2 million. A.G. was unaware of the crimes, the agreement said.
Federal agents found other false tax claims totaling $2.2 million made by Mitchell using a company he created, Chameleon Enterprises, LLC. His co-conspirators already pleaded guilty. Last month, Richard Walls was sentenced to three years and one month in prison, and Jamie Russ-Walls was sentenced to five years' probation.
Mitchell, a wide receiver, was an All-American in college at UCLA, and played four seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.