NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- A Rutgers University player went before a judge Thursday in connection with a credit scheme that also involves seven of his teammates.
Brendan Devera, 18, a sophomore linebacker, appeared in an orange jumpsuit via video link today.
The former stand-out player at Wayne Hills High School had an attorney in the Middlesex County courtroom who entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Devera will be released pending his next court date on Oct. 11.
Devera is one of eight Rutgers players wrapped up in an alleged credit card scheme.
Investigators believe the players got the stolen credit card numbers off the dark web, a place online where users can buy and sell anything in the shadows. It’s also known as the Wild West of the internet.
The players allegedly used the stolen credit cards to fund their own Rutgers student accounts.
"Some of the students who got the money put onto their credit cards would go to such places as a book store and they’d such things as gift cards, which is a red flag to law enforcement when people are doing something like that," Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said.
A total of about $11,000 was stolen, but Carey said that number could grow as detectives continue to dig.
In addition to the credit card fraud, some of the players were also charged with promoting organized street crime and money laundering.
The other players charged include:
- Kai J. Gray, 21, of Union, New Jersey;
- Naijee R. Jones, 18, of Erial, New Jersey;
- Edwin A. Lopez, 19, of Camden, New Jersey;
- Kwabena Marfo, 21, of Alexandria, Virginia;
- Christian C. Onyechi, 19, of West Orange, New Jersey;
- Syhiem Simmons, 20, of Brooklyn, New York;
- and Malik Vaccaro-Dixon, 21, of Port Charlotte, Florida.
“We are very disappointed and frustrated," Rutgers' athletic director Pat Hobbs said of the arrests. "We have been working extremely hard to build a culture of excellence across the department and this news detracts from the great strides we have made.”
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said this investigation is ongoing. Investigators are now looking into whether this kind of activity is happening at other universities.