COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Art Schlichter is resolving multiple state and federal theft and fraud charges with plea agreements that will allow him to leave jail temporarily before beginning a multi-year prison term.
Schlichter was expected to plead guilty to state theft charges Thursday, and to plead guilty soon to federal charges of bank and wire fraud and filing a false tax return, according to court documents and one of Schlichter’s attorneys.
Schlichter was arrested earlier this year on allegations that he had promised sports tickets at low prices based on his contacts, then failed to deliver despite taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients, according to state and federal court records.
In fact, Schlichter didn’t have contacts and used the money he got for tickets for personal expenses, to gamble and to repay older debts, the court documents said.
Schlichter played at Ohio State between 1978 and 1981 and in the NFL for the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. His career was derailed by a gambling addiction, and he went to prison for gambling-related crimes.
Beginning in 2006, according to federal charges filed Wednesday, Schlichter offered people a chance to buy sports tickets at low prices, mainly to Ohio State football games but also baseball and NFL games, including the Super Bowl, according to a document filed by Terrance Brown, a criminal investigator with the Internal Revenue Service.
“He represented that he had personal connections, through his history and association with the Ohio State University and the National Football League, that enabled him to get the tickets at such low prices,” Brown said.
Under the plea arrangements, Schlichter will be allowed to leave custody after a hearing in federal court Friday and await sentencing on house arrest. He’s facing around eight years in federal prison and 10 years in state prison, with the sentences to run together and start in federal prison, said his federal public defender, Steve Nolder.
Nolder said Schlichter’s story shows the power of gambling addictions.
“He is exhibit A in terms of what a very, very strong gambling addiction can lead you to,” Nolder said Wednesday.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.