Ronald Holmes, the father of NBA player Shabazz Muhammad, was sentenced in Las Vegas to 37 months in federal prison Thursday in a $2.5 million mortgage fraud scheme.
His 21-year-old son, a Bishop Gorman High School graduate, plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Senior U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks also ordered Holmes to pay roughly $1.7 million in restitution and serve five years of probation and perform 1,000 hours of community service after he gets out of prison.
He gave Holmes until May 30 to surrender to federal prison authorities.
Holmes 51, who pleaded guilty in December to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, apologized to Hicks for his conduct.
“I want to express my regret that I participated in this behavior,” he said. “I will never do it again.”
In court papers, San Diego defense lawyer Michael Lipman had sought a lighter sentence, urging Hicks to consider his client’s long record of volunteer work for underprivileged children.
Holmes, a volunteer assistant basketball coach at Bishop Gorman, has “worked tirelessly” the past 16 years to help at-risk youth in Las Vegas and has been a devoted father to his three children, all of whom have excelled in sports, Lipman wrote.
“Mr. Holmes is ashamed that at the very time when his children should be focused on their success, they must endure public embarrassment over his conduct,” Lipman said.
Holmes’ youngest son, Rashad Muhammad, plays basketball for San Jose State and his daughter, Asia Muhammad, is a professional tennis player.
Lipman asked for a prison term of 366 days and 2,500 to 3,000 hours of community service for Holmes.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Schiess, however, pushed for the 37-month prison sentence, arguing in court papers that Holmes is a repeat mortgage fraud offender who has not learned a lesson from his past mistakes.
Schiess argued that Holmes also has exploited the good fortune of Shabazz Muhammad.
He said Holmes told the FBI in March 2013, that he had been living off a loan tied to his son’s projected earnings as a top NBA prospect. At the time, Muhammad was attending UCLA and later was drafted as a No. 1 pick by the Timberwolves.
Schiess accused Holmes of using his children and community work to “talk his way into a lighter sentence.”
On Thursday, Hicks sided with Schiess in handing out the tougher sentence, telling Holmes he was “troubled” by his criminal past.
Holmes pleaded guilty in Southern California in 1999 to using fraudulent bank statements to obtain mortgages. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay about $78,000 in restitution.
In May, a Las Vegas federal grand jury indictment alleged that Holmes and his partners obtained mortgage loans by “fraudulent means” to buy houses 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, valued at roughly $2.5 million, alleged to have been unlawfully obtained in the scheme.
Holmes was accused of recruiting straw buyers and supplying false information to financial institutions to help the straw buyers obtain the mortgages.
Contact reporter Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-8135. Follow him on Twitter @JGermanRJ.