By Christopher Baxter/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger
on October 16, 2013 at 1:20 PM, updated October 16, 2013 at 5:02 PM
Former Pro Bowl and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Irving Fryar was indicted today along with his mother for conspiring to steal more than $690,000 by deceiving several banks into granting them home equity loans, state authorities said.
Fryar, 51, of Springfield, Burlington County, and his mother, Allene McGhee, 72, of Willingboro, teamed up to obtain five loans in a period of six days in 2009 using a single property — McGhee’s home — as collateral, the state Attorney General’s Office said.
But in doing so, the pair reported false information on the loan applications, authorities said, including that McGhee earned thousands of dollars each month as an event coordinator for the New Jerusalem House of God, a church Fryar founded in his hometown of Mount Holly.
Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman said the pair failed to notify each bank they approached of the other loans they had been granted. He said Fryar received or spent about $200,000, and the pair made only a few payments on four of the loans before the banks wrote off the losses.
“This is not a case in which Mr. Fryar and his mother simply omitted or misstated information on loan applications,” Hoffman said. “This indictment alleges that they engaged in an elaborate criminal scheme that was designed to defraud these banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Fryar played for four NFL teams from 1984 to 2000, including the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, and made the Pro Bowl five times. He was hired in March as the head coach of the Robbinsville High School varsity football team.
Irving Fryar, who played in the NFL for 17 seasons and was a five-time Pro Bowler, could be working as a TV analyst or coaching in the pros. Instead, he devoted himself to coaching young men on the Robbinsville High School football team. He also ministers his congregation as pastor at the New Jerusalem House of God in Mount Holly, N.J. Video by Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger
“It is disappointing that someone with an illustrious career in professional sports who now is a minister and coach in the community is charged with this crime, but he must face justice like anyone else,” Hoffman said.
The superintendent of the Robbinsville Public School District, Steven Mayer, said Fryar had been suspended without pay and could be fired as soon as Tuesday when the school board meets. Assistant coach Mitar Rudanovic will serve as interim head coach of the Ravens, who are 1-4 under Fryar.
During his NFL career, Fryar was arrested on weapons charges and battled drug addiction before he said he hit rock bottom and turned to God. But Mayer said the school investigated Fryar thoroughly before hiring him this summer and found no reason not to move forward.
“We ran all the checks and everything came up positive,” Mayer said. “We crossed every ‘T’ and dotted every ‘I’. This is something that obviously we had no knowledge of.”
Attorneys for Fryar and McGhee could not be reached for comment. The assistant football coach in Robbinsville, Mark Hutton, who is one of Fryar’s best friends, said Fryar did not mention the indictment when the two spoke earlier today.
“No. I’m not hearing nothing about that,” Hutton said.
The indictment, handed up by a state grand jury in Mercer County, charges Fryar and McGhee with second-degree conspiracy and theft by deception. Each charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000 upon conviction.
Star-Ledger staff writer Matthew Stanmyre contributed to this report.