A former National Basketball Association All-Star has gone from the ball court to the clink after being sentenced to more than 2 years in jail for fraud.
The Arizona prosecutor accepted the former ball player's guilty plea for running "fraudulent schemes and artifices."
In Arizona, that's essentially legal jargon for purposefully trying to run a scam on someone for your own benefit. It can range from something simple, like check fraud, to something more complex, like this case.
In this case, the former basketball star ran a telemarketing company aimed at seniors. The goal was to sell the seniors -- who tend to be less internet savvy than younger generations -- fake websites as investments. He promised huge returns for their investments and bilked $155,000 out of a dozen people within six months.
He was previously convicted of real estate fraud after he took possession of an abandoned property and then put it up for rent, despite not being the legal owner.
At least one of his current victims lost her own business as a result of his deceptions. The business owner had met the former athlete through a dating site, and he sold her the story that he ran a business creating websites and helping people fix damaged credit.
He then convinced her to run charges on credit cards through her own, legitimate business. The charges eventually turned out to be fraudulent -- so the credit card companies took their money back from her, not him. She had to close down her own business as a result of her losses.
Cases like this are a warning to other would-be business investors. Carefully check the credibility of anyone you plan on doing extensive business with -- and don't get involved if something sounds shady, illegal or unethical in any way.
Ask questions and be prepared to walk away if the story shifts or the promises seem just a little too sweet. It never hurts to seek out a little expert advice, either, before you invest. A business attorney can often help steer you away from dangerous grounds just by letting you know what is normal in a certain industry and what isn't.
Source: AZCentral.com, "Former NBA All-Star Chris Gatling sentenced to 2.5 years for Arizona fraud scheme," Robert Gundran, Dec. 12, 2017