Pressure mounts on Denver Broncos’ Eyioma Uwazurike and an Iowa State wrestler after the state filed new charges that carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The possible prison sentence increases
A current Iowa State wrestler and ISU grad, suspended Denver Broncos defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike may face a total of seven years in prison after the state filed a Class D felony indictment against the pair in Iowa District Court.
The Iowa Class D felony charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $7,500 fine. In addition, the couple have previously been charged with filing tampering and could face up to two years in prison.
The state has dealt Uwazurike and wrestler Paniro Johnson their heaviest blows yet
The fees that the Des Moines Register According to reports submitted last week, means the state hit Uwazurike and wrestler Paniro Johnson with their most serious counts to datesince the Iowa Criminal Justice Department launched an investigation into state college gambling in May.
The betting trick backfires
According to court documents filed in Story County, the recent identity theft charges allege that Uwazurike and Johnson illegally used another person’s identity information “to their advantage in excess of $1,500.” It says in the documents to registerillustrate how both athletes allegedly worked with someone else to set up accounts with sports betting sites and then placed bets from those accounts.
Iowa is charging Uwazurike with placing over 800 bets totaling over $21,000, including bets on two Iowa State games. The reportedly more prolific Johnson placed nearly 1,300 bets totaling over $45,000. Johnson is in his second season on the Iowa State Wrestling team and is listed on the 2023–2024 active roster. The NFL, meanwhile, suspended Uwazurike, who remains on the Broncos’ reserve list, albeit with a suspension.
16 former and current individuals from the state of Iowa charged with illegal betting
Uwazurike and Johnson are among 16 former and current Iowa residents accused of illegal betting and altering records to cover their tracks. Last month, Iowa defensive lineman Isiah Lee left the Cyclones program after the state also charged him with betting on someone else’s identity. In addition to the charges the state of Iowa has filed, Uwazurike, Johnson, Lee and others like quarterback Hunter Dekker could also face a permanent ban from the NCAA.
Plea not guilty
The two athletes have both pleaded not guilty to both counts of charges and will appear on October 24 in Story County District Court on a simultaneous trial by separate juries. According to court documents, Uwazurike, who was defensive lineman for Iowa State from 2016 to 2021 before the Broncos called, has asked the court to dismiss the charges against him.
argue that their client’s actions “are not criminal acts”
The soccer player’s lawyers described the charges against their client as a “smear campaign to justify an investigation into suspects”. Uwazurike’s attorneys also argue that her Iowa client’s actions are “not criminal acts” and that using another person’s betting account “with their permission” is not a crime.