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Former Viking Michael Bennett Charged With ID Theft, Tax Fraud

Most Vikings fans will remember Michael Bennett as the speedster out of the University of Wisconsin that was drafted as the successor to Robert Smith in 2001 after Smith suddenly retired. The first-round pick had an outstanding season in 2002 and made the Pro Bowl, but injuries plagued the rest of his Vikings career. When Bennett was on the field between injuries, he had problems hanging onto the ball. The Vikings finally parted ways with him after the 2005 season after amassing 3,174 rushing yards and 1,040 receiving yards. These days, Bennett's name conjures up thoughts of lost potential and what could have been in Minnesota.

Unfortunately for Bennett, his name is the least of his worries right now. The FBI is looking into a claim that the former NFL running back filed taxes as someone else.

According to Pro Football Talk, Bennett and two other former NFL players--William Joseph and Louis Gachelin--are among a group of people charged with filing false tax returns in other people's names and fraudulently stealing their refunds. The scam is growing rampantly in recent years: basically the offender steals a person's identity, files for their refund, and receives it before the real person ever realizes it. By the time the victim and IRS catch on, the money is dispersed and most likely spent.

More details are expected to come Monday, when the group is scheduled to appear in a Miami federal court.

Here's a look back at a commercial that Bennett did during his time with the Vikings that's very ironic after these charges have come to light. Apparently Michael Bennett has had problems with money for a while:


Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.