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More trouble

Bad check charges filed against former FSU QB

Posted: Thursday February 13, 2003 6:22 PM
Updated: Thursday February 13, 2003 8:38 PM
  Adrian McPherson Adrian McPherson was dismissed from the Florida State football team in November. Craig James/Getty Images

By Mike Fish, SI.com

ATLANTA -- When Adrian McPherson wasn’t playing quarterback at Florida State this past season, law enforcement officials say he was spending at least some of his time passing bad checks in the Tallahassee, Fla., area.

McPherson was charged Tuesday with five counts of grand theft by writing worthless bank checks, a third-degree felony, in connection with five $75 checks that were cashed last August at two Publix grocery stores.

In addition, an assistant Florida state attorney told SI.com that his investigation had found 32 additional bad checks allegedly written by McPherson, though the parties haven’t filed complaints.

“This is not just a kid out on his own for the first time at college who can’t keep a checking account going,’’ Doug Hall, an assistant state attorney, said Thursday from his Tallahassee office. “This is somebody who from the day he opened the account started bouncing checks, and was ongoing in this bouncing of checks all the way through the end of the account."

McPherson was dismissed from the Florida State football team in November after being accused of stealing a check from an auto accessories shop that was later cashed for $3,500. He pleaded innocent to that charge but was later charged with three felonies -- forgery, passing a forged check and grand theft -- and has a March 6 hearing date.

The newest felony charges surfaced after Publix officials filed routine complaints last month, bringing the state attorney a stack of bad checks received by their local stores. Included were five McPherson allegedly wrote for cash on Aug. 17, 18, 19 and 20 (two), said Hall.

“After we pulled his bank records and looked at them, there were quite a number of other checks that have been dishonored," said Hall. “He was writing a lot of bad checks.’’

McPherson's attorney, Grady Irvin, did not return calls to his office Thursday asking for comment on the new charges, but he has maintained from the outset that his client is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.

Hall indicated that an arrest warrant for McPherson had been issued but not yet served. McPherson had transferred to Murray State in December but dropped out last week after the western Kentucky school told him he could not play until his legal problems were resolved.

Hall said his investigation found that McPherson’s bank account lacked sufficient funds for 37 checks he cashed between last July and December. At least 15 checks were written to Tallahassee merchants, including one for more than $200 to a shoe store, Hall said. The assistant state attorney said he doesn’t yet have copies of the other bounced checks and is uncertain of the total amount.

Only the grocery store chain has filed a complaint with his office, Hall said, although he knows at least some of the remaining 32 checks have been turned over to a national collection agency.

"There was literally one check that I can see that got paid. And when you look at it in context of everything else that has been going on it tells you that Mr. McPherson has got himself a little bit of a problem," Hall said.

“It’s not just a kid who is really, really good at athletics but really dumb otherwise and who has a heart of gold -- but just can’t maintain a checking account. This is somebody who from all accounts that we’re seeing ... ripping off merchants right and left in Leon County with bad checks, plus stealing a check from a local merchant and forging it, [passing] it, getting money from it and doing something with the money and then lying about it."

 
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