NEWARK - Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Irving Fryar and his mother were indicted by a New Jersey grand jury Wednesday on charges they conspired to steal more than $690,000 through a mortgage scam.
In announcing the indictment, prosecutors said Fryar and his mother, Allene McGhee, engaged in a "sophisticated mortgage fraud scam" by allegedly having McGhee submit false information to obtain five loans on her home within a six-day period. The two were indicted on counts of conspiracy and theft by deception.
The 51-year-old Fryar, of Springfield, is pastor of the New Jerusalem House of God church in Mount Holly that he founded and the head coach of the Robbinsville High School football team.
His 72-year-old mother lives in Willingboro. The former wide receiver played for four NFL teams between 1984 and 2000, including the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It's disappointing that someone with an illustrious career in professional sports who now is a minister and coach in the community, is charged with this crime, but he must face justice like anyone else," acting Attorney General John Hoffman said.
Authorities said Fryar and McGhee provided wage information on her loan applications, falsely claiming she earned thousands of dollars a month as an event coordinator for Fryar's church. Fryar himself allegedly received or spent more than $200,000 of the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds, they said.
Fryar and McGhee also allegedly made just a few payments on four of the loans, and those banks eventually wrote the loans off as losses, authorities said.
"This is not a case in which Fryar and his mother simply omitted or misstated information on loan applications," Hoffman said. "This indictment alleges that they engaged in an elaborate criminal scheme that was designed to defraud these banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars."
It wasn't clear Wednesday whether the pair have attorneys. The Associated Press left messages for Fryar at the church and school. A spokeswoman for a Red Bank-based law firm that once represented Fryar said she did not know if the firm was handling this case. A phone number for McGhee could not be found.
NJ.com reported that Fryer has been suspended without pay and could be fired as soon as Tuesday when the school board meets. Assistant coach Mitar Rudanovic will serve as interim head coach of Robbinsville, which is 1-4 this season.
Each charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000 upon conviction.