Penn State football recruit charged with forgery, theft

A Central Dauphin High School football star and Penn State University recruit is facing criminal charges that he passed counterfeit money at Harrisburg area fast food restaurants.

Zayd Issah, 18, was charged March 10 with eight criminal counts, including two felony counts each of forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery and four misdemeanor counts of theft by deception, according to online court documents.

Susquehanna Township police and a school official confirmed the charges Thursday.

According to police, officers on March 9 were sent to the McDonald's restaurant at 4401 North Front Street to investigate three people who were attempting to pass fake $20 bills while paying for an order at the drive-thru window.

The suspects were gone before officers arrived, but McDonalds employees were able to get a vehicle description and license plate number, and the owner told investigators that her son had been driving the vehicle, according to a police news release.

Two suspects were eventually identified and arrested, and both separately implicated Issah as having passed counterfeit money at two locations and to being involved with transactions at two others, according to the criminal complaint.

Both suspects also identified Issah by both name and photograph, as he had been a longtime friend of both, police said in the charging document.

Facebook messages between Issah and one of the suspects proved he knew the money was forged and solicited a plan to “clean” it, the document states. Police said in the complaint that the forged money was used by Issah and the other suspects at various fast food restaurants.

Issah and his co-defendants, identified by police as 19-year-old Brandon Wallace, of Harrisburg, and 18-year-old Devacio McGowan, of Susquehanna Township, were released on $1,000 unsecured bail following their arrests.

A preliminary hearing for Issah was scheduled for May 9.

Issah, a Central Dauphin running back and linebacker, was recruited by Penn State to play linebacker and was selected to the 2013 Big 33 team. As a junior, he was a member of the CD team that won a 2011 state football championship in 2011.

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