NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The first of eight Rutgers University football players facing charges in an alleged credit card scheme will face a judge Thursday.
The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office said the current and former players stole card information and transferred funds into various Rutgers Express accounts, which allow students to use their school IDs as debit cards.
Prosecutors said the crimes took place between April 22 and May 3, while the men were students.
Kai J. Gray, 21, of Union, New Jersey; Brendan R. Devera, 18, of Totowa, New Jersey; Naijee R. Jones, 18, of Erial, New Jersey; Edwin A. Lopez, 19, of Camden, New Jersey; Kwabena Marfo, 21, of Alexandria, Virginia; Christian C. Onyechi, 19, of West Orange, New Jersey; Syhiem Simmons, 20, of Brooklyn, New York; and Malik Vaccaro-Dixon, 21, of Port Charlotte, Florida were each charged with third-degree conspiracy to commit theft by deception.
Some were also charged with promoting organized crime, money laundering, and fraudulent use of credit cards.
Devera is expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon. The others have court appearances over the next two months.
In a statement sent to CBS2, Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs said the school is “very disappointed and frustrated.”
“We have been working extremely hard to build a culture of excellence across the department and this news detracts from the great strides we have made. We will continue that work,” the statement concluded.
College football season officially kicks off in just over a week. The first big game comes with big hype.
“Everybody loves football, who doesn’t love it? Especially the Scarlett Knights. Like come on, everybody comes to watch the Rutgers games, so the football players are a big deal for Rutgers,” said Erica Castleberry, of Plainfield. “A batch of bad apples shouldn’t affect everybody. Just prosecute those, not everyone. Everyone isn’t at fault.”
“I don’t know them, but obviously that’s really upsetting to hear,” junior Ally Coghlin said. “I don’t want something like this to ruin any of the reputation of it – of this amazing school.”
“If they’re found guilty of it, no I don’t think they should be on the team,” an alumnus added.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Megan Moschberger of the Rutgers University Police Department at (732) 932-7111, or Detective Christopher Van Eerde of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3300.