Ex-NFL star Antrel Rolle knew damn well he wasn't screwing the IRS out of millions of dollars -- he was being set up ... and officials say he helped catch the scumbag at the heart of the scheme.
Long story short ... Rolle's former tax attorney was arrested by federal agents Monday morning after prosecutors say he filed tons of fake documents to score huge tax refunds in Rolle's name, only to pocket the money for himself.
Officials say Hiram Martin -- who Rolle hired as a rookie in 2006 -- stole at least $1.2 MILLION over the years but Rolle had no clue since Martin hid all the tax documents from him.
By the way, Rolle reportedly made more than $60 mil during his NFL career -- guessing Martin figured he wouldn't notice if he skimmed a couple mil.
Rolle finally realized something was up when he got hit with a $2 million tax bill in 2011 despite the fact he thought he made all his payments to Uncle Sam.
Rolle smartly hired another lawyer who was able to get the $2 mil tax judgment thrown out because of Martin's alleged fraud. That seemingly alerted the feds who cracked down on Martin and arrested him.
Martin has been charged with obstructing the IRS and presenting false documents -- if convicted on all counts, he faces up to 18 years in prison.