Friends can get you out of a lot of tough situations… but nine years in prison? Doesn’t seem likely. But that’s exactly what Magic Johnson is attempting to do for an old teammate.
Johnson has asked a judge to spare prison for his friend and former Michigan State teammate Jay Vincent in sentencing him in a fraud scheme.
In a letter to the judge, Johnson wrote:
“With all due respect to the parties involved, and my heart goes out to them, I ask again that you consider his time served and have mercy on him and not allow this one incident of bad decision-making to change the course of his life.”
Vincent, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, and prosecutors have recommended he serve nine years in prison, the minimum under advisory sentencing guidelines, The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press reported Thursday.
According to prosecutors, Vincent’s business, Foreclosure Bank Inspection Co., advertised for inspectors of foreclosed homes and required them to pay $238 each for non-existent insurance and a background check. No one was hired.
Vincent’s Attorney Thomas Clement said he admits his victims lost about $1 million.
Clement asked that Vincent, who earned $11 million while playing for the NBA, receive probation so he can earn money to pay restitution.
Vincent’s company defrauded about 20,000 people across the country out of more than $2 million. So, a letter from Magic Johnson probably won’t even save him. And as far as money to pay restitution, I honestly don’t see what he could do, to possibly earn this amount of money back, that didn’t involve fraud. At best, his sentence will probably be reduced since Vincent voluntarily revoked his bond and was jailed ahead of his September 2, 2011, sentencing.