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College Sports, Division I, Education

Fresno State University Football Student-Athletes’ Alleged Involvement in Welfare Fraud Scheme

The Associated Press reported approximately 24 current and former football student-athletes at California State University at Fresno (“Fresno State”) “have been linked to welfare fraud”. The AP article noted the student-athletes “were identified in an investigation of an employee of a county social services department who has been accused of filing on their behalf for benefits to which they were not entitled”. Media reports explained the welfare fraud scheme involved a former Fresno County Social Services eligibility specialist, who was arrested last month concerning, but not charged on, “allegations he fraudulently applied for Electronic Benefit Transfer cards — formerly known as food stamp benefits — for the players and others”. Fresno State administrators stated “the athletes have been punished”, but the institution declined to comment further.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends NCAA member institutions incorporate in its rules-education sessions for student-athletes an advisory concerning the consequences of being connected to, or involved in, fraudulent activities (e.g., fraudulent activities involving welfare, financial-aid and/or employment timesheets).

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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