Antonio Callaway, Jordan Scarlett among nine Gators players facing felony fraud charges
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Standout receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett are among nine Florida players facing felony fraud charges for allegedly transferring money from a stolen credit card and using it to buy electronics.
According to Alachua County court records, sworn complaints were filed Monday against the suspended players. The State Attorney’s Office will investigate the complaints and decide whether to formally charge the players with third-degree felony charges.
When asked about the potential charges affecting the players’ status with the team, coach Jim McElwain said: “You’re darn right.”
State Attorney Bill Cervone said Monday that Callaway transferred $1,970 from a stolen credit card number to his campus bookstore debit account. Scarlett transferred $1,940 to his account from the same card number, Cervone said. Callaway and Scarlett then bought high-end computers and fancy headphones at the bookstore, Cervone said.
Five others — defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller and receiver Rick Wells — also made one charge with the stolen card number, ranging in value from $500 to $2,000, authorities said.
Those seven are eligible for a statutory diversion program that could lead to reduced charges and potentially improve their chances of returning to the team.
Defensive lineman Jordan Smith and offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort were more egregious offenders, according to university police reports.
Smith is facing five charges, and Telfort is facing 30.
“Well, obviously, know this: I really care about those guys,” McElwain said. “We’re going to do right by them. You’re asking me something, which this is the first I’ve heard about it. Obviously, we sit down as a staff. We sit down as an administration. Obviously, the university first and what that is. Yet, at the end of the day I’ll do everything I can to help these guys.”
The suspended players remain in school, and some are still living with teammates.
“I’m not saying they don’t see them,” McElwain said. “They all live together, right? But that’s part of the lesson, too, and in some cases, our team kind of had moved on and then we’ll deal with whatever it is when it comes up.”
Seven players, including Callaway, were suspended indefinitely Aug. 13. Scarlett and Wells were suspended amid the investigation 17 days later.
At least three of the nine suspended players have had other off-the-field problems.
Scarlett and Callaway have been cited for marijuana possession. Callaway also was investigated and ultimately cleared of sexual battery in 2016. Wells initially faced two felony charges for shooting a BB gun into a residential building last year. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed after he entered a pre-trial diversion program.
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