A federal judge Friday sentenced former New York Giants linebacker Marcus Buckley to two years in prison for fraud.
In Judge Troy Nunley’s decision, which was handed down in U. S. District Court in Sacramento, Buckley, 46, Weatherford, Texas, was also ordered to repay $1.58 million that he illegally received for fake worker’s compensation claims from stress-related injuries he received while playing professional football.
Buckley, who played his entire professional career from 1993-2000 with the Giants, originally filed the worker’s compensation claim in 2006 and settled with the team and its insurance company, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Group, four years later, according to a Department of Justice news release.
A few months after the settlement, the news release indicates, Buckley and his co-defendant, Kimberly Jones, devised a scheme in which further claims were made using false invoices, statements and credit collection letters.
Jones worked for Gallagher-Bassett Services in Sacramento, the third party administrator for the Giants’ insurance company.
Buckley received $1,588,000 through this method, according to court records.
As the sentencing date approached and during the hearing, Buckley’s lawyer, Scott Cameron, noted that his client was taking full responsibility for his actions and provided letters from family members and supporters in an effort to keep his client from serving prison time.
In a sentencing memorandum, Cameron noted the difficulties Buckley had during his youth, including helping to care for his dying father after his mother had left them years earlier.
The father died during the years Buckley was a first-team All-American at Texas A&M.
A former coach noted Buckley earned the “Aggie Heart Award,” which is given to a player who is a standout leader on and off the field.
Other testimonials noted that Buckley was a husband and father of three and had no prior criminal history.
Cameron said his client had been far too generous to people for his entire adult life and that left him in a situation that when the opportunity presented itself to make a large amount of money illegally to help him care for the needs of his family, Buckley made “a terrible mistake.”
Buckley’s guilty plea came as a result of a plea bargain. He was originally charged with 13 counts of fraud and money laundering.
His co-defendant, Kimberly Jones, is scheduled to be sentenced February 8 in U. S. District Court in Sacramento. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.