FORMER Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell has been charged with tax fraud for his alleged role in a scheme to file false federal returns on behalf of professional athletes.

The faked returns sought refunds ranging from $170,000 to $1.9 million. That money was to be split among Mitchell, his two co-conspirators and the named tax filer, according to an indictment filed last April by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Orlando, Fla.

The document, which came to light only this week, details how Mitchell, 33, allegedly recruited individuals, particularly professional athletes, as clients for a tax-return business run by Jamie Russ-Walls and Richard Walls, both of Bensalem.

Russ-Walls and Walls would then prepare 1040 forms that claimed the taxpayers were due significant refunds, the indictment states. They allegedly supported the claims with falsified W-2 statements and other forms.

In one case cited in the indictment, a professional athlete identified only as A.G., who had no knowledge of the scam, paid the trio $100,000 as down payment for preparing his 2008 tax return and amending his 2006 and 2007 returns. They told him they anticipated a refund of $1.2 million.

Russ-Walls and Walls then submitted a false tax return in A.G.'s name requesting a refund of $1.9 million to be distributed among three accounts: $1 million to A.G., $638,000 to Russ-Walls and $280,000 to Mitchell.

Mitchell is also alleged to have been the sole manager of Chameleon Enterprises LLC, a Florida corporation that provided false tax documents used to claim an additional $2.2 million in refunds.

Mitchell played for the Eagles from 2001 to 2004. He was a key component in one of the most famous plays in Eagles history, the fourth-and-26 catch he made during the 2004 playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

Neither he or his alleged co-conspirators could be reached for comment yesterday.

Contact Natalie Pompilio at 215-854-2595 or pompiln@phillynews.com.