FREDDIE MITCHELL has filed a civil suit against his co-defendants in his federal conspiracy and tax fraud case.
The former Eagles wide receiver brought a case in U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania against Jamie Russ-Walls and Richard Walls, of Bensalem, alleging fraud, breach of contract and infliction of emotional distress. The suit cites that Mitchell, best remembered for his fourth-and-26 catch against the Packers in a January 2004 NFC divisional playoff game, has suffered embarrassment, lost business opportunities and required medical or psychological attention because of being implicated in the federal court matter in which the couple took advantage of him and defrauded him.
An April 2011 federal indictment in Florida, which was unsealed last March, charged that Mitchell worked with the Wallses to bring pro athletes to their tax business, which the government says falsified wage and tax statements to make it seem their clients were owed refunds ranging from $170,000 to nearly $2 million. The Wallses also were indicted.
The indictment said Mitchell brought in a pro athlete identified only as A.G, but Mitchell's civil suit against the couple states that Mitchell brought Milwaukee Bucks power forward Drew Gooden for tax help. Gooden, whose given name is Andrew, is not charged or implicated in any wrongdoing.
The indictment says Jamie Russ-Walls and Richard Walls falsified records for Gooden and submitted a false tax return in his name, seeking a refund of $1 million for A.G. (who turns out to be Gooden), $638,000 to Russ-Walls and $280,000 to Mitchell, who also received $100,000 up front from A.G. for introducing them to the couple who could help him.
The federal indictment says the Wallses filed fraudulent documents claiming their clients had millions of dollars withheld from their pay by Chameleon Enterprises. Mitchell is the sole officer of Chameleon Enterprises, which his suit against the Wallses contends was an old company he founded to establish a bar or restaurant and abandoned.
His suit says the Wallses told him they liked the company name and asked him to transfer it to them, so that they could do business under that name.
Mitchell's suit contends he was outraged to learn the couple had filed a fake return in Gooden's name and defrauded his friend and him.
"When you look at what Freddie did wrong in the grand scheme of things, he trusted these people who he believed were not only professionals, but one of them showed credentials that she was an agent for the IRS," said Mitchell's civil attorney, Richard F. Klineburger III.
Mitchell's suit states that Jamie Russ-Walls flashed a badge to him when they first met and said she was an Internal Revenue Service agent on medical leave because of carpal tunnel syndrome. The suit says she offered to help Mitchell with past tax problems if he brought athletes in as clients to the couple's tax businesses.
"In the end, Freddie's taxes are still a mess; his friends got ripped off by these con artists; and his reputation is tarnished," Klineburger said. "I truly believe that he will be vindicated in the end."
Efforts to reach the Wallses and their counsel Thursday were unsuccesful. n