From the Gridiron to the Chain Gang

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Blank notepad with tax form and calculator on white table. Top view. Space for text.

From gridiron star to businessman to prison inmate. That is the unlikely journey of a former Florida State University (FSU) football standout who was indicted on federal charges of filing false tax returns through his tax-preparation business.

Kenneth Alexander, a starting linebacker and team captain of FSU’s 1993 championship team, recently pleaded guilty to three of nine counts as part of the agreement in this Tax fraud scheme. In return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will drop the remaining six counts.

However, Alexander still faces mandatory prison time and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, according to court documents. He also agreed to make full restitution to the IRS totaling $1.05 million. (Ouch!)

Alexander, who owned the now-defunct Wizard Business Center, agreed to plead guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false return, aiding and abetting the theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. He could be sentenced up to three years in prison on the first charge, up to 10 years on the second and a mandatory two-year term on the third, which would run consecutive with any other time.

Prosecutors said Alexander falsely represented itemized deductions, losses and marital status in tax returns he prepared for 10 different customers between 2012 and 2016. (Ironically, the company’s old Facebook page claims that Wizard Business Center provides guaranteed maximum refunds.  Maybe, they should have added “By Any Means Necessary.”)

Federal prosecutors wrote in court documents that Alexander pleaded guilty because he knew he was guilty of the charges and the government could present evidence proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The charges grew out of an investigation by the IRS and the Emerald Coast Financial Crimes Task Force, which includes IRS criminal investigators, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General.

Alexander, who started for three seasons at FSU, was the Seminoles’ leading tackler in 1993. He earned a law degree after getting an NCAA postgraduate scholarship (That’s impressive! Too bad he didn’t put it to good use.) He also served on FSU’s Alumni Board for six years.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Former FSU football standout takes plea deal in federal tax fraud case,” published by Tallahassee Democrat on April 23, 2019.

A former Florida State University football standout who was indicted on federal charges of filing false tax returns through his tax-preparation business has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Kenneth Alexander, who was a starting linebacker and team captain of FSU’s 1993 championship team, will plead guilty to three of nine counts as part of the agreement. In return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will drop the remaining six counts.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.