NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Eight Rutgers University football players now face charges from a credit card fraud scheme that occurred while all of them were students, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said today.
All of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit third-degree theft by deception, Carey said in a joint issued with Rutgers police Chief Kenneth Cop.
Two of the men, Kai Gray, 21, of Union, and Brendan Devera, 18, of Totowa, were also charged with street crime in the second degree and money laundering in the third degree, authorities said.
Also charged with Najiee Jones, 18, Erial, New Jersey; Edwin Lopez, 19, of Camden, Kwabena Marfo, 21, of Alexandria, Va; Christian Onyechi, 19, of West Orange, Syhiem Simmons, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Malik Vaccaro-Dixon, 21, of Port Charlotte, Fla.
Jones and Onyechi have also been charged with fraudulent use of credit cards in the third degree.
Lopez, Marfo, Simmons and Vaccaro-Dizon are also charged third-degree money laundering and third-degree fraudulent use of credit cards.
Carey said investigators determined that between April 22, and May 3, of this year, the defendants participated in an illegal credit card fraud scheme in which they obtained credit card numbers belonging to others without their consent or authorization.
The men then transferred funds to various RU Express Accounts for personal use, the prosecutor said.
RU Express is the official university debit account that allows students, faculty and staff to use the Rutgers Id cards as debit cards at over 100 on-campus and off-campus locations, including restaurants, according to the Rutgers website.
Gray and DeVera were reportedly dismissed from the team.
Devera is scheduled for a court appearance on August 23, 2018, in Superior Court.
Gray is scheduled to appear in court on October 11, 2018 before Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto.
Dixon, Jones, Lopez, Marfo, Onyechi, and Simmons are scheduled to have their first appearance in Middlesex County Superior Court on September 13.
Authorities are asking that anyone with information in this case call Detective Sgt. Megan Moschberger of the Rutgers University Police Department at (732) 932-7111, or Detective Christopher Van Eerde of the prosecutor’s office at (732) 745-3300.