Father of NBA player Muhammad pleads guilty in Las Vegas mortgage scheme

Ronald Holmes, the father of NBA player Shabazz Muhammad, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday in a $2.5 million mortgage fraud scheme.

His 20-year-old son, a Bishop Gorman High School graduate, plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He spent one year at UCLA before declaring for the NBA draft.

Holmes, 52, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

He has agreed to share with co-conspirators in the payment of roughly $1.7 million in restitution and is to be sentenced on March 13 before Senior U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks.

So far, no other people have been charged in the case. But Holmes is cooperating with prosecutors and will get a lighter prison sentence if he provides “substantial assistance,” according to his 17-page plea agreement.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Schiess said in court that the government is allowing Holmes to travel across the country while he awaits sentencing to watch Muhamnad and his younger brother, Rashad, play basketball. Rashad, who also played for Bishop Gorman, is on the San Jose State basketball team.

Afterward, Holmes declined comment.

His San Diego lawyer, Michael Lipman said, “He needs to just move on with his life.”

A federal grand jury indicted Holmes on May 29 on the conspiracy count and two bank fraud counts, which are being dismissed.

The indictment alleged Holmes and his partners obtained mortgage loans by “fraudulent means” to buy houses in Las Vegas from 2006 to 2009.

Holmes and his co-conspirators spent loan proceeds on themselves and lived in some of the houses, according to the indictment. In one instance, bankruptcy petitions were filed to stall foreclosure on a house so that Holmes could continue to stay there.

The indictment listed at least three Las Vegas properties alleged to have been unlawfully obtained in the scheme.

Holmes was accused of recruiting straw buyers to the scheme and supplying false information to financial institutions to help the straw buyers obtain the mortgages.

In court Thursday, Holmes acknowledged providing false information to the lending institutions about the income and employment of the straw buyers.

In 1999, Holmes pleaded guilty in federal court in California to using fraudulent bank statements to obtain mortgages. The plea agreement noted that Holmes paid about $78,000 in restitution to banks and credit unions targeted in the scheme.

Contact reporter Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Follow him on Twitter @JGermanRJ.