A former Southeast Missouri State University women's basketball coach has been arrested by federal authorities in a multi-state car theft conspiracy that involves more than 100 vehicles.
William (B.J.) Smith, 48, of Highland, Kansas is one of 16 people who were arrested on a federal indictment charging 21 defendants involved in a multi-state car theft conspiracy.
Smith coached at SEMO and then ran his own basketball academy in Cape Girardeau. Smith resigned on December 1, 2006 almost one month after he was placed on paid administrative leave by the university for personal reasons. This was also after an NCAA investigation into the women's basketball program.
He led the lady Redhawks to their first ever trip to the NCAA Division 1 tournament. He coached four seasons at SEMO.
Highland Community College Athletic Director Greg Delzeit says Smith is the current coach of the HCC women's basketball team in Highland, Kansas.
The conspiracy is alleged to have used several different schemes to steal and misappropriate vehicles, commit bank fraud in order to obtain vehicles, and obtain insurance proceeds by staging accidents and filing false theft reports.
The indictment alleges that the defendants stole luxury automobiles, SUVs, and pickup trucks from individuals and automobile dealerships in the Eastern District of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, vehicles that they transported to the Eastern District of Missouri.
According to the FBI, they disabled any tracking systems, like OnStar, on the stolen vehicles so that they could not be traced by law enforcement.
The "straw" purchasers are accused of making false statements on loan applications and submitted fraudulent earnings statements to obtain loans to buy the typically high-end vehicles.
The defendants used and then sold or disposed of the vehicles, while the loan defaulted, either immediately or after a short payment history, according to the FBI.
According to the indictment, they also practiced fraud related to the titling of vehicles, obtaining by false statements apparently legitimate ownership to vehicles they had stolen from individuals.
On many occasions, the suspect are accused of falsely claiming to have done repair work that was not actually performed on the vehicles submitted to their businesses.
More than 100 vehicles have been identified as being involved in the criminal activity. Investigators believe many more were actually involved.
Charges include conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud, and receipt of stolen motor vehicle. If convicted, these charges carry penalties ranging from five to 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million.
Those arrest on April 23:
Shahadu Sutton, 38, St. Louis
Tiffany Sutton, 38, St. Louis
Orlando Preston, 38, St. Louis
William Smith, 48, Highland, Kansas
Robert Reece, 40, St. Louis
John Hicks, 30, St. Louis
Reginald Davis, 30, Florissant, Missouri
Steven Pirtle, 45, St. Louis
Sheldon Mitchell, 42, Ballwin, Missouri
Chester Wilson, 41, St. Louis
Arvis Dunbar, 47, St. Louis
Eugene Dunbar, 63, St. Louis
Michael Smith, 40, Florissant, Missouri
Terrelle Marion, 46, Florissant, Missouri
Jermaine Gamble, 32, in custody
Joseph Pearson, 38, St. Louis area
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis County Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Maplewood Police Department, Missouri Department of Revenue, and other municipal police departments, with assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Assistant United States Attorneys John Ware and Stephen Casey are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
More than four days after a Malaysian jetliner went missing en route to Beijing, authorities acknowledged Wednesday they didn't know which direction the plane carrying 239 passengers was heading when it...More >
The last message from the cockpit of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was routine. "All right, good night," was the signoff transmitted to air traffic controllers five days ago.More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 9:43 PM EDT2014-03-12 01:43:13 GMT
The University of South Carolina student paralyzed by a stray bullet shooting in Five Points in late 2013 will be honored by the Gamecocks baseball team during Tuesday night's game against Furman. SouthMore >
The University of South Carolina student paralyzed by a stray bullet shooting in Five Points in late 2013 will be honored by the Gamecocks baseball team during Tuesday night's game against Furman.More >
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:03 PM EDT2014-03-12 03:03:16 GMT
The Mega Millions jackpot climbed to $309M on Tuesday.The winning numbers were drawn live on FOX Carolina Tuesday night.Those numbers are:If there is no winner, the jackpot will grow again.The next drawingMore >
The Mega Millions jackpot climbed to $309M on Tuesday.More >