Rumeal Robinson, the onetime University of Michigan hero who spent six seasons in the NBA, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in federal prison Friday for masterminding a bank fraud. Even in the days leading up to his sentencing, the consummate huckster was trying to raise cash from old friends who had supported his schemes in the past, his adopted brother Donald Barrows tells Riptide.
"He was asking for money to get a new lawyer, and everyone was stalling him because nobody wants to give him money anymore," says Barrows. "Up until the end, he didn't think he was going to jail. He thought he was going to get a new lawyer and a new trial."
By now, Robinson's tumble from glory, much of which was first reported by this blog, is well-known: The $20,000-a-night addiction to strippers. The illegally-acquired business loan blown on cars, clothes, cigars, and a machine gun. And most notoriously, the financial gambling of his adopted mother's Boston-area house, which eventually left her homeless.
But it wasn't only his own mom who was left screwed in Robinson's wake. In April 2005, Robinson and business partner Jorge Rodriguez cooked up a scheme to borrow more money for their Megaladon Development, Inc. and its doomed development project in Jamaica. They tricked Rodriguez's mother-in-law, a Miami-Dade School Board paraprofessional named Magdalena Salup, into signing for a $150,000 loan, according to federal prosecutors. She thought she was signing documents to make an "investment" in their company.
Robinson blew the mother-in-law's cash in 45 days. His purchases: 10 vehicles-- including 3 Mercedes-Benzes, 2 BMWs, and five motorcycles-- $3,000 at strip clubs, $28,000 on condo payments, and a thousand-dollar dog.
Salup, meanwhile, was named as a defendant in a resulting lawsuit filed by the bank, despite never being charged with a crime. In November 2009, the paraprofessional, who earned less than $40,000 annually according to prosecutors, declared bankruptcy. Riptide couldn't get in touch with her for comment.
Jorge Rodriguez was not charged with a crime for his involvement in the scheme, although we don't envy his standing with his wife right now.
And now, let's remember better days with this Saturday Night Live spoof commercial featuring Chris Farley as Robinson in his most famous moment: Hitting those two clutch free throws to clinch a NCAA championship for Michigan.
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