Missouri Basketball Coach Admits Becoming Component of Auto Theft Ring

The women’s basketball coach at Highland Local community School in northeast Kansas, who once coached at Southeast Missouri State University, pleaded guilty to currently being element of a auto theft ring that prosecutors said staged accidents and filed false theft reports to pocket insurance coverage money.

William J. Smith, of Highland, Kan., pleaded guilty in federal court in St. Louis to a single count of conspiracy and 5 counts of mail fraud. He was 1 of 21 folks charged in a scheme to steal luxury motor cars from people and dealerships in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

The counts he pleaded to involved acquiring fraudulent transfer titles from the Osage Nation for 5 vehicles in 2011 and 2012, which allowed the automobiles to be resold.

Counts of mail fraud and receiving stolen vehicles were dropped, The St. Joseph Information-Press reported.

Prosecutors explained the ring also obtained some vehicles when purchasers produced false statements on loan applications and submitted fraudulent earnings statements to obtain motor vehicle loans. The defendants utilised and then offered or disposed of the cars even though the loan defaulted.

Smith, who will be sentenced July 1, apologized in a statement.

“Unfortunately, I permitted myself to be in business peripherally with a man or woman who was involved in a auto theft ring,” the statement mentioned. “I have cooperated with the government in this process to bring these individuals to justice, nevertheless, due to my transactions with this person I truly feel this is the best way for me to place this predicament behind me and move forward with my occupation. I apologize for the unfavorable publicity this has brought, I am embarrassed that I allow this take place.”

Smith has coached Highland for 3 many years and his group completed 2nd this 12 months in the National Junior University Athletic Association’s Division II championship game, ending a 33-3 season. His total record at HCC is 85-13.

He coached at Southeast Missouri State 4 seasons and led the Lady Redhawks to their initial NCAA tournament. Smith resigned in 2006 after he was placed on paid administrative depart for individual motives. There was also an NCAA investigation into the women’s basketball program.

Highland president Dave Reist mentioned the school’s attorney will seek the advice of with the Board of Trustees to make a decision on Smith’s potential. He stated he hoped the determination will be made sometime early subsequent week.

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