Basketball Coach Admits Getting Element of Car Theft Ring

The women’s basketball coach at Highland Neighborhood University in northeast Kansas, who when coached at Southeast Missouri State University, pleaded guilty to currently being component of a car theft ring that prosecutors stated staged accidents and filed false theft reviews to pocket insurance income.

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

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

Counts of mail fraud and getting stolen autos have been dropped, The St. Joseph News-Press reported.

Prosecutors explained the ring also obtained some autos when purchasers produced false statements on loan applications and submitted fraudulent earnings statements to acquire motor vehicle loans. The defendants utilized and then offered or disposed of the vehicles whilst 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 individual who was involved in a vehicle theft ring,” the statement said. “I have cooperated with the government in this procedure to bring these individuals to justice, even so, due to my transactions with this man or woman I really feel this is the very best way for me to put this predicament behind me and move forward with my profession. I apologize for the unfavorable publicity this has brought, I am embarrassed that I allow this come about.”

Smith has coached Highland for 3 many years and his crew finished second this 12 months in the Nationwide 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 1st NCAA tournament. Smith resigned in 2006 following he was positioned on paid administrative depart for individual causes. There was also an NCAA investigation into the women’s basketball program.

Highland president Dave Reist mentioned the school’s attorney will check with with the Board of Trustees to make a decision on Smith’s long term. He said he hoped the selection will be produced sometime early up coming week.

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