Penn basketball alum Tyrone Gilliams sentenced to 10 years in prison
Gilliams sentenced for role in securities and wire fraud schemes
November 4, 2013, 2:54 am·
Former Penn basketball player Tyrone Gilliams was sentenced Thursday in New York by a federal judge to 10 years in prison for wire fraud schemes where he stole $5 million.
On Thursday in New York, a federal judge sentenced the Ivy Leaguer after being arrested on Oct. 5, 2011.
In addition to the 10-year jail sentence, Gilliams was also ordered to pay $5 million back to his accusers and forfeit five million more.
Gilliams’ stint at Penn lasted from 1988-90. Gilliams even led the team in free throw percentage in 1988-89.
This former basketball starter went on to form TLG, TL Gilliams, LLC, a commodities trading firm. He became a skilled commodities trader and began to make a name for himself, carving out niches as a hip-hop promoter with connections and a rising philanthropist.
Prosecutors believed that he and Everette Scott Jr. solicited about $5 million from businessmen in Florida and Ohio. Gilliams promised his investors astonishing returns as high as five percent per week.
He claimed to have a U.S. Treasury STRIPS Trading program where he would pool money from investors to have buying power to purchase large shares of STRIPS and that the investment was “virtually risk-free.”
Instead, the money was put to a gold venture, a warehouse in Denver, funds for renovating his home and promoting a Bahamas comedy show.
Most surprising of all was a charity fundraiser in Philadelphia. The “Joy to the World Fest” was a compilation of events around the city including a food giveaway for 5,000 people in need, a gospel concert, a bowling party, a children’s event at the Convention Center and an album release party with Jamie Foxx. The main event was a fundraising gala the Saturday night before Christmas at the Ritz-Carlton with a full celebrity lineup.
Gilliams used $1.3 million of laundered money to put towards this event.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy wrote in a presentencing memo this month, “It was an expensive party that was thrown not to help the less fortunate, but simply to self-promote Gilliams as a person of supposed wealth and importance.”
A former friend told Stephen Fried of Philadelphia magazine last year, Gilliams was “becoming delusional, ‘addicted to attention’ and obsessed with the success of others, especially those in the music business.”