Sep 272006
 
Authors: JAMES BAETKE The Rocky Mountain Collegian

New details in the alleged fraud and forgery investigation involving CSU students, including ex-football players, have surfaced in court documents.

According to a court motion filed Sept. 14, requesting sensitive grand jury documents and evidence, the seven individuals arrested earlier this month were involved in a bank fraud “scheme.”

“The grand jury authorized an investigation to be conducted into a bank fraud scheme in which multiple parties sold debit cards and their personal identification numbers to other parties,” the motion reads.

“Those parties deposited forged checks into checking accounts and made withdrawals and other purchases with the debit cards.”

On Sept. 6, six former and current CSU students, including three current Ram football players, were arrested and charged with theft, forgery and identification theft, following a 10-month police investigation.

The three football players were suspended from the team.

Prosecutors charged and issued felony arrest warrants for former cornerback Robert Herbert, ex-defensive lineman Brian Abata, and former defensive back Micah Crews, as well as Tramell McGill and Daniel Foster, who played on the team in earlier seasons, and CSU student Preston Garcia and Fort Collins resident Calee Chleboun.

A grand jury is conducting an investigation of its own into the case.

“We have received 10,000 pages of discovery from the grand jury investigation,” said Erik Fischer, the defense attorney for Robert Herbert. “We’re hopeful we’re going to clear this up.”

Fischer says his client is still continuing his education at CSU, focusing more on his academics than on the legal allegations.

“He is certainly nervous and upset from being removed from his passion, which is football,” Fischer said.

All seven are expected in court throughout the first three weeks of October for status conferences or depositions.

The arrest warrants show the defendants were allegedly withdrawing cash from various accounts by writing fraudulent checks and illegally obtaining money orders from US Bank, 7-11 and Western Union with accounts other than their own.

MACO Credit Union, Boeing Employee’s Credit Union and Ashton Martin were also among the companies listed in court documents as allegedly being defrauded.

The accounts vary in locality but include the Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union and US National Bank of Oregon, the arrest warrants show.

Anne Hudgens, executive director for Campus Life, says the CSU students involved in the alleged bank fraud scheme are still enrolled academically.

“Because this is a grand jury investigation, no investigative information of any kind has been released to the university,” Hudgens said.

It is Hudgens’ job to determine if students violate the Student Code of Conduct and whether disciplinary action should take place.

“The district attorney has assured us when the information is available it will become available to the university,” she said.

Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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