Recruit Issah faces felony charges

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Penn State football recruit Zayd Issah is facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in a counterfeiting conspiracy in which he and two others allegedly forged currency and used it at Harrisburg fast food restaurants.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, Susquehanna Township police investigated a report March 9 of three men trying to pass counterfeit money at a McDonald's on North Front Street in Harrisburg. According to a news release from the Susquehanna Township police, they were passing counterfeit $20 bills in the drive thru, and the driver of the car was the son of the restaurant's owner. The suspects fled before officers arrived, but they were able to identify two of the men and arrest them, according to the affidavit.

Both of the suspects identified Issah, 18, of Harrisburg, as the third person involved in the counterfeiting. Police said that Facebook messages between Issah and one of the suspects showed that Issah "both knew the money was forged and solicited a plan to 'clean' it," according to the affidavit. The news release identified the other two suspects as Brandon Wallace, 19, and Devacio McGowan, 18, both of Harrisburg.

The forged money was used by all three suspects to buy food at various fast-food restaurants, including McDonald's and Popeye's, police said. Police sought an arrest warrant March 10 for Issah.

A Penn State athletics spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Issah was a linebacker, running back and wide receiver for Harrisburg's Central Dauphin High School and was rated by Rivals.com as a three-star recruit. Eight days after the arrest, coach Bill O'Brien said of Issah and another recruit: "We'll be looking for those guys to come in here in the summertime and see what they can do; can they help us on defense?"

According to court documents, Issah has been charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit forgery, four misdemeanor counts of theft by deception-false impression and two misdemeanor counts of forgery -- unauthorized act in writing. His preliminary hearing is scheduled May 9 in the Dauphin County District Court of Judge James Lenker.

Issah is the second current or future Nittany Lions player to face criminal charges since February. In late February, freshman running back Akeel Lynch was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief for kicking in a dormitory window in the fall.

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Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com and Twitter: @mdent05; Lillian Thomas: lthomas@post-gazette.com.


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