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Magic Johnson asks mercy for ex-teammate Jay Vincent

  |   Sept. 1, 2011 at 5:13 PM
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DETROIT, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Former NBA star Magic Johnson asked a judge to spare prison for his friend and former Michigan State teammate Jay Vincent in sentencing him in a fraud scheme.

Vincent, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, and prosecutors have recommended he serve nine years in prison, the minimum under advisory sentencing guidelines, The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press reported Thursday.

Prosecutors said Vincent's business, Foreclosure Bank Inspection Co., advertised for inspectors of foreclosed homes and required them to pay $238 each for non-existent insurance and a background check. No one was hired.

Attorney Thomas Clement said Vincent admits his victims lost about $1 million.

In a letter to the judge, Johnson wrote, "With all due respect to the parties involved, and my heart goes out to them, I ask again that you consider his time served and have mercy on him and not allow this one incident of bad decision-making to change the course of his life."

Clement asked that Vincent, who earned $11 million while playing for the NBA, receive probation so he can earn money to pay restitution.

Vincent has been held since late July.

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