Home / Articles / News / Around the Nation / Mo. Basketball Coach Pleads Guilty in Car Theft Ring
submit to reddit
2014 May 5 - 04:36 pm

Mo. Basketball Coach Pleads Guilty in Car Theft Ring

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The women’s basketball coach at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas pleaded guilty to being part of a car theft ring that prosecutors said staged accidents and filed false theft reports to pocket insurance money.

William J. “B. J.” Smith, of Highland, Kan., pleaded guilty in federal court in St. Louis to one count of conspiracy and five counts of mail fraud. He was one of 21 people charged in a scheme to steal luxury motor vehicles from individuals and dealerships in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

The counts he pleaded to involved obtaining fraudulent transfer titles from the Osage Nation for five vehicles in 2011 and 2012, which allowed the vehicles to be resold. Counts of mail fraud and receiving stolen vehicles were dropped, The St. Joseph News-Press reported (http://bit.ly/1pK3O4m ).

Prosecutors said the ring also obtained some vehicles when purchasers made false statements on loan applications and submitted fraudulent earnings statements to receive vehicle loans. The defendants used and then sold or disposed of the vehicles while the loan defaulted.

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

“Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be in business peripherally with a person who was involved in a car theft ring,” the statement said. “I have cooperated with the government in this process to bring these people to justice, however, due to my transactions with this person I feel this is the best way for me to put this situation behind me and move forward with my career.

Smith has coached Highland for three years and his team finished second this year in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division II championship game, ending a 33-3 season. His overall record at HCC is 85-13.

Highland president Dave Reist said the school’s attorney will consult with the Board of Trustees to decide on Smith’s future.

Comments: ccweekblog.wordpress.com

Log in to use your Facebook account with
CC Week

Login With Facebook Account

Advocates Say Full Academic Load Is Key to On-Time Graduation

helps students. College students who enroll in 15 credits in their first semester, and 30 credits a year, accumulate mor... Full Story

Next Issue

Click on Cover
to view

NEXT ISSUE

League Leads Effort To Embed Colleges In Public Health Education

Community colleges long ago cemented their place as a central and critical contributor to the country’s health care wo... Full Story