Former NBA and college star convicted - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former NBA and college star convicted

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Former college and NBA basketball star, Rumeal Robinson, was found guilty of bank bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and making a false statement to a financial institution on Wednesday in Iowa.

Attorneys say Robinson got a $377,000 business loan from Community State Bank in Ankeny on October 26, 2004.

The next day, they say he wired $100,000 to the personal bank account of Brian Williams, the Community State Bank loan officer who had authorized the loan.  Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud shortly before the start of Robinson's trial.

Robinson stated on loan documents that the loan would be "short term working capital" for his business, Megaladon Development, Inc., which was pursuing a development project in Jamaica. However, attorneys say he actually used a large portion of the loan proceeds to purchase a condominium for himself and his girlfriend and to furnish the condominium with plasma televisions and designer furniture.

Robinson and his girlfriend purchased the condominium in her name and claimed that she was the "Marketing Director" for Megaladon Development, with a salary in excess of $100,000.  Attorneys say she actually worked in a strip club.

Robinson got another business loan from Community State Bank in January 2005 for $80,022, even though they say he had not made any payments on the first loan. Brian Williams was the one who approved that loan.

Robinson stated in loan documents that the money was for business, but attorneys say Robinson used a large portion of the money on personal expenses, including cars, clothes, and more furniture.

Then, in April 2005, because of Williams' personal lending authority limit at Community State Bank, Williams and Robinson had the mother-in-law of Robinson's business partner, Jorge Rodriguez, sign documents for a $150,000 loan. That money was wired directly to the bank account of Robinson's company, over which he had exclusive control.

The mother-in-law, Magdalena Salup, was a long-time paraprofessional in a Miami, Florida, school district and earned less than $40,000 per year.

Salup said she was told she was signing the papers to make an "investment" in Robinson's company.

Rather than using the money for his business, attorneys say Robinson spent more than $44,000 of that loan to buy or lease 10 vehicles, including 3 Mercedes-Benz, 2 BMWs, and 5 motorcycles.  They say he also spent more than $3,000 at strip clubs, bought a $1,000 dog and spent approximately $28,000 on condominium and house-related payments.

They say it took him only 45 days to spend the entire $150,000.

Starting in July 2005, attorneys say Robinson got three more loans from Community State Bank, totaling $111,027.08, in the name of his girlfriend, Stephenie Hodge.

They say part of the money was wired to a company with whom Robinson was making an investment.  The remainder was wired from Community State Bank to Hodge, who then wired most of it to Robinson.

By November 2005, Robinson had received more than $700,000 in loans from Community State Bank but had not made any repayments.

Attorneys say that at that time it was becoming apparent to Williams and Robinson that the Jamaica project would not succeed, so they became jointly involved in an energy project with a company called "Fairway Energy."

Attorneys say Williams loaned $495,000 to Fairway Energy in exchange for a promise of a $495,000 payment to Williams personally.  Williams and Robinson expected that Williams would keep part of the $495,000 payment for himself but use most of it to pay down the loans that had been made directly and indirectly to Robinson.

They say Williams later made an additional loan of $101,044 in connection with the Fairway Energy deal, again for the benefit of himself and Robinson.

Then in January 2006, attorneys say as part of the Fairway Energy project, Robinson arranged the sale of his mother's house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Rodriguez, his business partner, to Stephen Hodge, his girlfriend's brother.

Rodriguez had become the owner of the house in early 2004 because Robinson convinced his mother, Helen Ford, to allow him to use equity from the house for the Jamaica project.

Attorneys say the sale of the house from Rodriguez to Hodge happened without Ford's knowledge. The purchase price was $1 million, even though the sale to Rodriguez, less than two years earlier, had been for only $625,000.  Attorneys say Hodge gave all the proceeds to Robinson, who invested most of the money in Fairway Energy.

U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt said, "This was a complicated case, but it arose from a very simple transaction: a bribe. Mr. Robinson could not get money through legitimate means, so he paid off the bank officer. He also lied on bank documents, took advantage of people for their credit scores, and used a project in Jamaica as an excuse to ask people for money that, in reality, he planned to use for his own lavish lifestyle. I am pleased that after hearing the evidence, the jury concluded Mr. Robinson was in fact guilty of the charges against him."

A jury convicted Robinson on all 11 counts.  Each count carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.

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