Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell was sentenced to three years in federal prison Tuesday for his role in a tax-fraud case that victimized at least one professional athlete.

Mitchell, who grew up in Polk County and played four seasons for the Eagles, pleaded guilty earlier this year in Orlando federal court to one count of conspiracy to file a false claim with the government.

The Internal Revenue Service began investigating 34-year-old Mitchell and co-defendants Jamie Russ-Walls and Richard Walls in 2009.

An attorney representing a professional athlete identified in court records as "A.G." told authorities that a nearly $2 million tax refund was filed in his client's name without his permission.

Mitchell said he and A.G. became friends when they both lived in Central Florida.

Mitchell admitted in his plea agreement that he falsely told A.G. that Russ-Walls prepared his taxes and got him a $1 million refund. Mitchell told A.G. that Russ-Walls could also get him money from the IRS.

According to Mitchell's plea agreement, Russ-Walls filed a fraudulent tax form in A.G.'s name in September 2009.

The return included an inflated refund of nearly $2 million.

Authorities said Mitchell, Russ-Walls and Walls also submitted direct-deposit paperwork requesting that A.G.'s refund distribution include $638,288 into Russ-Walls' bank account, and $280,000 into Mitchell's account.