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Feb 21, 2012 10:46 AM by AP

Feds delay sentencing, seek more fraud victims

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has put off a former NFL player's sentencing to give prosecutors time to notify possible fraud victims in Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and Arizona.
The amount of Jeffrey Walker's restitution payment will depend on the number of victims, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
Sentencing had been scheduled last Friday. Federal assistant public defender George Lucas opposed the delay, saying Walker has been waiting months to be sentenced.
Walker, 48, pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud and tax evasion involving a planned resort in China. Prosecutors said he used investors' money for personal items including a luxury van and a boat.
Walker, formerly of Madison, Miss., now lives in Franklin, Tenn.
He was drafted in 1986 by the San Diego Chargers in 1986 and also played with the New Orleans Saints.
Prosecutors know of at least 20 investors who were victims of the multimillion-dollar scheme, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Rushing said in court last week that letters from potential victims continue to arrive, including some last week.
Two people testified last week that they sent thousands of dollars to Walker, who
was accused of fraudulently obtaining at least $2.1 million from investors.
Walker faces up to 23 years in prison under federal law, but likely will get a lesser sentence under federal sentencing guidelines.
U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate did not set a sentencing date Friday, but said all victim statements must be received within the next 45 days, and Walker will be sentenced the week after that.
FBI and IRS officials said Walker misrepresented to as many as 30 investors that their money would be used for building estate homes, townhomes and patio homes in China in a project his companies, Charter Resources International and Sterling Group Holdings Inc., supposedly were developing.
Investors in Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and Arizona made interstate bank wire transfers to one of his companies. One sent a $200,000 check.

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