By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large
Well, this isn’t something you see every day.
Former NFL star Irving Fryar has been sentenced to prison for five years in connection with his role in a $1.2 million mortgage scam, and Fryar’s 74-year-old mother, Allene McGhee, has been sentenced to three years’ probation for her part in the attempt to defraud multiple financial institutions. The sentences follow their August convictions on charges of second-degree conspiracy and theft by deception. Restitution is a part of the sentences, as well, but the details of that are still being worked out, at this writing.
The charges and subsequent convictions center on the pairs’ efforts to take out seven home equity loans against two properties. According to records, Fryar and McGhee conspired to land six of the loans, totaling over $690,000, between December 18 and December 21, 2009, using McGhee’s home for the collateral; a seventh loan was fraudulently taken out against Fryar’s home. When things started to cave in, McGhee lost her home in foreclosure, but Fryar is said to have pocketed over $200,000 from the scam. According to authorities, Fryar and mom provided false wage information on loan applications, and ended up just making a handful of payments, in total, on the obligations.
For his part, the acting Attorney General of New Jersey, John Hoffman, said in a statement that ''the fact that Fryar had the means to succeed and do good things and instead chose this criminal path makes his actions all the more reprehensible.'' As if what transpired wasn’t strange enough, the situation is replete with unfortunate irony: Fryar is now a church pastor, and, during his playing career, was once the recipient of the NFL’s Bart Starr Man of the Year Award, given to that player who best exemplifies character and leadership on the field, at home, and in the community. Speaking of Fryar’s time on the field, he was a true star – as a wide receiver, he was the first overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft, and was elected to the Pro Bowl five times.