A New Orleans man pretended to be former NFL player Earl Thomas III in order to steal money from his bank accounts, cash his NFL checks and transfer ownership of several vehicles in a $1.9 million identity theft scheme, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators said.
Kevin J. Thompson, 38, was arrested in June on charges including identity theft, forgery, money laundering, credit card fraud, computer fraud and bank fraud, said Sgt. Brandon Veal, spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office.
Thompson is in a relationship with Thomas’ ex-wife, Nina Thomas, who is from New Orleans, according to authorities.
He used a driver’s license with his photo but the NFL player’s information to create a phony bank account and transfer vehicle titles, authorities said, including the blue Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV he drove to the bank where he was arrested.
After being released from jail, he tried to get the Rolls-Royce back from the Sheriff’s Office, authorities said, but he arrived in a car reported stolen in Atlanta and was arrested again.
Thomas, 34, a first-round draft pick, played nine seasons for the Seattle Seahawks as a central member of the team’s “Legion of Boom” defense. The three-time All-Pro safety won the Super Bowl in 2013 before he transferred to the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. The Ravens cut Thomas in 2020.
He had a tumultuous break-up with Nina Thomas, including a 2020 incident in which she was accused of holding him at gunpoint after she found him with another woman in Austin, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Sheriff’s Office investigators say Thompson used the fake driver’s license to open an account in Thomas’ name at Jefferson Federal Credit Union in May 2022, Veal said.
Over the next year, Thompson moved money from Thomas’ accounts into phony accounts. At least $700,000 was wired into the Jefferson Federal account, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Thompson would then withdraw cash from the credit union, including a $50,000 withdrawal in May 2023, authorities said.
He is accused of depositing the player’s NFL checks into fraudulent accounts. He also stole a large amount of money from the player’s retirement account, Veal said.
But the scam wasn’t limited to bank accounts, according to authorities. Thompson is accused of using the fake identity to transfer ownership of “several” vehicles owned, Veal said.
Thompson then sold Thomas’ vehicles, pocketing the cash, authorities said. It’s not clear how Thompson got physical possession of the vehicles. That is still under investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Thomas’ credit union in Texas contacted officials at Jefferson Financial in June to notify them about the suspicious activity, authorities said. Management at Jefferson Financial reached out to the Sheriff’s Office on June 8 after they determined the person who opened an account was not Earl Thomas III, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Thompson was arrested the next day at Jefferson Financial’s Harvey branch, 1520 West Bank Expressway, Veal said. When arrested, he was driving the blue Rolls Royce SUV that he’d transferred out of Thomas’ name, Veal said.
After Thompson’s release from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna, he went to the Sheriff’s Office on June 16 to try and retrieve the vehicle.
But he arrived at the investigations bureau in a 2022 Chevrolet Corvette reported stolen out of Atlanta, authorities said. Thompson was arrested again and booked with possession of stolen property and altering a vehicle identification number.
Federal investigators are also involved in the case, which includes financial dealings in Thomas’ home state of Texas, according to authorities. Additional charges are possible, Veal said.
No one else has been arrested in connection with the investigation, Veal said.
Thompson is free on a $730,000 bond. His attorney, Jeffrey Smith, declined to comment Tuesday.