A former Dallas Cowboys player is out of federal prison after serving three years for taking part in a $20 million mortgage fraud scheme.
Eugene Lockhart, who played linebacker for the Cowboys from 1984 to 1990 before spending the last two years of his career with the New England Patriots, was convicted of mortgage fraud in 2012 and sentenced to 54 months in prison, but is now free after three years.
According to a Dallas Morning News report from 2012, Lockhart and at least 10 other people were convicted in the mortgage fraud scheme, which saw the group recruit straw buyers who falsified their income documents to obtain loans with inflated prices.
The Dallas Morning News report states that Lockhart and his co-conspirators obtained 54 fraudulent loans from 2002 to 2005.
Now, Lockhart is free and he spoke with Dallas’ Fox 4 about his time in prison and what’s next in his life.
From the Fox 4 report:
“Something went into my stomach and it's like a hurt came up over me and I was just weak,” said Eugene. ”Fifty-four months? I'm trying to do the math in my head and confusion all comes in my head. Four years?”
The federal government said he was part of a $20 million mortgage fraud scheme. He and nine others were implicated.
Eugene thought he'd get probation with his guilty plea and avoid a trial and lengthy sentence.
“They take me to Seagoville, and then when I get there, I have to undress and I'm looking for a coat hanger and they say ‘Nah, nah, nah, you don't have to worry about hanging that up. Throw it on the floor; we get it,'” said Eugene. “And then they give you this orange suit.”
That's when reality hit. He was put in the hole for protection because he'd been a Dallas Cowboy.
The Fox 4 report says that Lockhart is still facing two years of probation, but Lockhart, who ministered to other inmates while in prison, said that he now has a “purpose” in his life and hopes to write a book about his experiences and become a motivational speaker for students, adults and prison inmates.