Five SEC athletes, including former Alabama football player D.J. Fluker, were implicated for receiving extra benefits while still in college, according to a Yahoo! Sports report that was published on Wednesday. The report was based off of financial records and an analysis of text messages sent by former Alabama player Luther Davis. Agents reportedly gave Fluker and the other athletes benefits like cash, hotel stays, furniture and flights.
The other players that are implicated are Tennessee’s Tyler Bray and Maurice Couch, and Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox and Chad Bumphis.
If the NCAA finds the allegations to be true, Alabama could be forced to vacate wins in games in which Fluker played. Fluker is now in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers.
“We have been aware of some of the allegations in today’s story and our compliance department was looking into this situation prior to being notified that this story was actually going to be published,” Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said in a statement. “Our review is ongoing. We diligently educate our student-athletes on maintaining compliance with NCAA rules, and will continue to do so.”
After his eligibility at Alabama was up in January, Fluker tweeted: “Yea I took $ n college so wat. I did wat i had to do. Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them. Cast da 1st stone.” The tweet was quickly removed and the account was deleted, the Montgomery Adviser reported.
“We’ve done a lot investigating about a lot of things,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban. “Every time someone writes something about our program, we investigate it and do the best we can. There’s nobody in this organization who doesn’t want to do anything that’s not above board. That’s not what our program is built on.”
He didn’t read the Yahoo! report because he was at practice.
“I’ll say from the administrative standpoint, from the compliance standpoint, we have people here who do a fantastic job,” Saban said. “I know we have one of the best agent education programs in terms of what we do to help our players make good decisions and choices about what they do and what they don’t do when it comes to agents. And I have full confidence in our leadership that we’ll do whatever we need to do to handle the situation appropriately and I know we will.”
A new report claims that the U.S. government paid out billions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefit claims in 2011.
According to a report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the federal government paid about $2.2 billion to people who were actually working. The government handed out about $3.3 billion in fraudulent benefits overall.
Workers earning at least $900 a week, which works out to $46,800 a year, collected about a half-billion dollars. Those earning less than $300 per week received only $210 million of the fraudulent benefits, The Huffington Post reported.
The government paid out $108 billion total in unemployment benefits in 2011, so the fraudulent payouts were a relatively small percentage. Still, it is a concern that money intended to help the jobless went to people who might not really need it.
Unemployment benefit fraud is nothing new. 3,200 households making more than $1 million per year received unemployment benefits at some point during the economic downturn. Those households obviously would not have qualified for the benefits because of the amount of money they were taking in annually.
In their report about the subject, authors David L. Fuller, B. Ravikumar and Yuzhe Zhang concluded:
“Fraud due to concealed earnings represents the largest source of fraud in the U.S. unemployment insurance system. Individuals with relatively low earnings constitute a larger fraction of those committing such fraud. High-earnings individuals, however, account for larger dollar amounts of this fraud. Given limited resources to deter fraud and to recover overpayments, the unemployment insurance system faces a trade-off between the number of individuals versus the dollar amounts.”