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Saturday, October 27, 2012
Updated: October 28, 12:41 PM ET
Former Vikes top pick gets 15 months

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A former NFL first-round draft pick has been sentenced to more than a year in prison for taking part in a fraud scheme.

Michael Bennett was sentenced to 15 months on Friday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud three months ago.

The 34-year-old Bennett was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2002 and played for six teams, last appearing for the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

Prosecutors say the FBI operated an undercover check-cashing store in North Miami used by Bennett, two other former football players and five others from February through April. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks.

Bennett's attorney says Bennett "had nothing to do with cashing fraudulent tax checks, nor was he charged with such."

Former Raiders and New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph and former Syracuse player Louis Gacheline have also pleaded guilty to related charges and are awaiting sentencing.