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Former Sooner football player sentenced in fraud scheme

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Former Sooner wide receiver accused of conning investors out of $875,000

T.J. Hamilton

T.J. Hamilton

TULSA — Former University of Oklahoma wide receiver T.J. Hamilton was sentenced to five years in federal prison Thursday for creating sham businesses and conning investors out of nearly $870,000.

"T.J. Hamilton's extravagant and indulgent lifestyle was fraudulently built on the financial savings of those who believed in him," said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores of Tulsa. "Hamilton persuaded investors to part with their money by exploiting his status as a former University of Oklahoma football player, using his church connections, making a false claim that he was a chemical engineer and through the bogus endorsements of his products supposedly from former University of Oklahoma athletes."

Hamilton, 31, bilked money from 18 investors and used the funds to try to launch a country music recording career, as well as to support a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Hamilton's victims included "a widow who lost her life savings," Shores said.

The five-year sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge John E. Dowdell was the maximum penalty allowed by law. Following completion of that sentence, Hamilton will be on three years of supervised release.

The judge also ordered Hamilton to pay back $869,300 so the money can be used to pay restitution to his victims.

Hamilton was a walk-on athlete whose last season with the OU football team was in 2009.

At his plea hearing, Hamilton admitted to promoting false investment opportunities relating to business ventures that purportedly were going to produce and market sportswear and nutritional supplements, prosecutors said.

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Former Sooner wide receiver accused of conning investors out of $875,000

Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›

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