The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Screenshot / YouTube

Former Penn basketball player Tyrone Gilliams was sentenced on Oct. 31, 2013 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. 

Giliams filed a writ of coram nobis — a petition to revoke a jury’s sentence in part or in full — in January 2014 in the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in New York, but it was dismissed in April that year

Gilliams’ stint at Penn lasted from 1987-90. 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 into 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."

(This story is part of a series of articles on Gilliams' criminal charges. Learn more about the former Penn student's legal battles here and here.)

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.