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Father of former UCLA basketball star indicted

Ronald Holmes, whose son is Shabazz Muhammad, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bank fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud.

May 30, 2013|By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
  • Ronald Holmes, left, is shown with his son, Shabazz Muhammad, and wife, Faye, in 2011.
Ronald Holmes, left, is shown with his son, Shabazz Muhammad, and wife,… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Ronald Holmes, father of former UCLA basketball star Shabazz Muhammad and himself a former hoops standout, has been indicted on federal fraud charges.

Holmes, 51, was detained Thursday in Las Vegas. He has pleaded not guilty to bank fraud, as well as counts for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, Holmes and several unnamed associates used fraudulent information and straw buyers to obtain home mortgages and buy and sell houses, keeping the proceeds for themselves.

The activities took place between 2006 and 2009 and involved at least three Las Vegas properties. The complaint seeks to recover more than $2.5 million.

News of the indictment was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Holmes, a standout guard for USC in the early 1980s, is best known for his role in raising a professional tennis player daughter and a son, Shabazz Muhammad, who was once the nation's top-ranked amateur basketball player.

Muhammad, who left UCLA after just one season this spring, is preparing for the NBA draft.

A Los Angeles Times article in March revealed that Muhammad was actually 20, even though he and his father had long stated he was 19.

This is not the first brush with the law for Holmes. In 2000, he was sentenced to six months house arrest for fraud involving multiple mortgages in Los Angeles County that were obtained in the early 1990s using false information.

The details of that case bear remarkable similarities to the current charges. According to U.S. Atty. Daniel G. Bogden's complaint, Holmes lived in two houses obtained with fraudulent mortgage applications, and seldom made mortgage payments.

He also allegedly conspired to have straw buyers file bankruptcy petitions to delay foreclosure of homes he was occupying.

The lenders that underwrote the mortgages include Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Centralbanc Mortgage Corp., the indictment says.

An attorney for Holmes, Thomas F. Pitaro, did not return a call seeking comment.

ken.bensinger@latimes.com

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