Deliberations start in Irving Fryar mortgage fraud case

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Irving Fryar sits in court Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Mount Holly, N.J., waiting for jury selection to begin in his and his mother's trial on charges of conspiracy and theft by deception. (Clem Murray/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — Jury deliberations began Wednesday in the mortgage fraud case of a former NFL star and his mother.

Jurors got the case involving former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Irving Fryar, shortly after closing arguments concluded in the trial that lasted for about three weeks.

Fryar and his mother, Allene McGhee, are charged in a New Jersey court with conspiracy and theft by deception. They are accused of conspiring to steal money through a mortgage scam run by co-defendant, William Barksdale.

Barksdale pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last year and is serving a 20-month prison sentence. He testified during the trial that Fryar knowingly participated in the scheme.

Defense attorneys say Fryar and his mother were victims of Barksdale. Neither testified in the case.

McGhee’s attorney, Mark Furey, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the state failed to prove its case and that McGhee didn’t need to testify in her own defense. Fryar’s attorney, Michael Gilberti, also said he saw no reason to call him to the stand.

Each could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. They rejected plea deals in October that would have meant five years in prison for Fryar and three for McGhee.

Authorities said Fryar and McGhee provided false wage information on her loan applications and claimed she earned thousands of dollars a month as an event coordinator for Fryar’s church. Authorities said the pair made just a few payments on four of the loans, and those banks eventually wrote the loans off as losses, authorities said.

Fryar starred for Rancocas Valley High School before playing at the University of Nebraska and becoming the first overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He also played for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.

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