A former NFL star, who then became a deputy for Osceola County in Orlando, Florida was acquitted on Saturday by a federal jury on charges of stealing people’s identities and over $500,000 in false income tax returns.
Titus Dixon, 49, who was a wide receiver for both the National Football League and Canadian Football League, was cleared by a jury in Tallahassee over the weekend.
He had been a deputy in Osceola County for nine years and was fired in 2014 when he was indicted.
“Never in a million years did I imagine my life would have been destroyed and falsely accused by the justice system I have always believed in,” Dixon said in a statement.
The former football player had been charged with numerous charges, including conspiracy, theft and identity theft. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Dixon would have spent a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted.
The daily says that Dixon, along with four other family members, allegedly filed over 200 false income tax returns.
The others involved have pleaded guilty. Defense attorney Jason Wandner and Richard Kibbey said they resided with Dixon in Kissimmee.
Perrissa Dixon, the deputy’s niece is said to have been the ringleader of the operation. The fake tax returns were all filed from her home in Tallahassee, Wandber told The Orlando Sentinel. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison, while her husband Orman Witherspoon, was sentenced to six years. The other two individuals – Katrina Pratt and Stefondra Monroe are awaiting sentencing.
“Titus Dixon stood up and fought for his innocence,” Wandner said.
The identities of over 216 people were stolen, according to defense attorneys. Five of the victims were directly linked to Titus Dixon and his role as deputy. He had either arrested or detained them in the past, Kibbey said.
Supposedly, it was the other members who stole the identifications of the victims connected to Titus Dixon while living under the same roof. Allegedly they went through his cases and used his computer, which was not protected by a password.
Titus Dixon’s lawyers say the former New York Jets player did in fact end up with some of the stolen cash but that it was legitimate money owed to him, since he had loaned his family members money in the past.