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FSU, UF students facing federal charges after being accused of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft

Posted at 3:44 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 15:44:18-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A former University of Florida football player and several FSU students have been indicted on federal charges after being accused of using account numbers to fraudulently deposit funds into FSU students' accounts, including their own.

On Tuesday, Lawrence Keefe, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced an indictment against Kh’lajuwon Amari Murat, 21, Kadeem Wysler Joseph Telfort, 22, Jada Tisean Barton, 22, Ariel Apperlyn Smith, 22, Deshauan Antwaniece Sanders, 22 and 22-year-old Voshon Howard.

All seven people have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 17 counts of bank fraud, and 8 counts of aggravated identity theft.

The indictment alleges that Telfort, a student and football player at UF, and the six defendants, who were all students at FSU in the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement, conspired to defraud federally insured financial institutions between July 1, 2017, and October 31, 2017.

They say that Murat and Telfort used the Internet and text messaging to obtain credit card and debit card account numbers from third parties.

They then used that account information to fraudulently deposit funds into the student accounts of FSU students, including accounts belonging to Barton, Smith, Sanders, and Howard.

"Specifically, the indictment alleges that Murat requested the student account numbers from FSU students and also requested that the FSU students purchase merchandise from the FSU Bookstore using funds that he and Telfort had fraudulently deposited or would later fraudulently deposit into those students’ accounts," officials wrote in a press release.

The FSU students then gave the merchandise to Murat and others, and were allowed to keep any remaining fraudulent funds for their own personal use.

In total, investigators believe the group stole approximately $53,000.

A jury trial is scheduled for August 17 at 8:15 a.m. before Judge Robert Hinkle at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee.

All defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud count, and Murat faces an additional 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for each aggravated identity theft count.