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Criminal Charges, Volume XLVII: Hoop dreams and credit card fraud schemes

Jeremy Simon

Hoop dreams and credit card fraud schemes come together in this week’s edition of Criminal Charges. We’ve got two stories of basketball and crime, including the foul shots allegedly taken by the girlfriend of professional basketball star and the former director of a high school b-ball tournament.

NBA star’s girlfriend apparently had history of lying, credit card abuse

Having your girlfriend end up in jail can certainly spoil the relationship. However, for NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, the arrest of love interest Cristal Taylor at his Dallas home on May 6 may have been one of the best things that could have happened to him.

criminal-charges.JPGThat’s because Taylor was apparently quite comfortable with lying to and stealing from the men in her life. According to news reports, Taylor had previously run up $330,000 in debt using her ex-husband’s credit cards.

Based on ex-husband James Westerhaus’ bankruptcy filing, Taylor had quite the shopping habit. “More than $100,000 of the $330,000 debt was credit card bills, including five that exceeded more than $10,000 apiece. One reached $32,000. Gas stations and stores like Victoria’s Secret, Dillard’s and JCPenney were also owed,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

An unnamed source tells the paper that German-born Nowitzki may have become a victim.

“The source said indications are that Taylor gained unauthorized access to Nowitzki’s credit cards. The source said it is unknown if, or how much, she was able to use them,” the paper reports.

Nowitzki may have lacked even more basic knowledge of his lady friend: Taylor also apparently told the Dallas Mavericks star her name was Christian “Crissy” Trevino when the two met, according to a German magazine.

“Christian Trevino is one of numerous aliases Taylor has used, according to law enforcement officials,” the News reports. “When Taylor went to a Beaumont dentist in 2004, authorities say she presented a driver’s license with the name Christian Travino and tried to pay the roughly $10,000 bill with a credit card bearing the same name,” the paper says. For that kind of money, her teeth better have been blindingly white afterward.

“Taylor told The News the credit card belonged to a friend, and the friend had not told her the credit card was nearly maxed out. Taylor was charged with theft of service, which is why she has been in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility since mid-May,” the paper reports.

Basketball tourney’s founder accused of revenge scheme
The founder of a now-defunct high school basketball tournament finds himself in trouble with the law — again.

Robert F. “Bobby” Jacobs, founder and promoter for Delaware’s Slam Dunk to the Beach basketball tournament, previously served less than one year in prison for fraud charges related to misappropriation of tournament funds. That included about $87,000 in credit card debt and a line of credit lacking any documentation to establish whether the funds were used for tournament purposes. The event once drew some of the nation’s best high school players, including LeBron James.

It now looks like Jacobs could face additional time behind bars. His latest troubles are related to an apparent revenge scheme targeting three people who helped prosecutors send him to jail back in 2007. Stemming from the alleged scheme, state police arrested Jacobs on June 19, charging him “with three counts of felony stalking of two men and one woman by sending letters to their supervisors alleging sexual misconduct,” reports.

According to a state police spokesman, “letters were sent to the Cape Henlopen School District accusing a female teacher of inappropriate contact with a student, to Wesley College accusing a coach of similar misconduct and to Legislative Hall in Dover alleging one of the administration’s department secretaries acted inappropriately,” the Web site reports. “Letters were also sent to the civic association where the Wesley College coach lived.”

Why target those three people? Authorities were able to identify the trio of victims as former members of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association, the organization that oversaw the Slam Dunk basketball event for which Jacobs acted as director. Police say those individuals had all been involved in revealing Jacobs’ misappropriation of funds.

Authorities executed a search warrant at Jacobs’ home and seized his computer. A forensic examination of the computer provided additional evidence linking Jacobs to the letters.

Before abruptly canceling the Slam Dunk event in 2004, citing health reasons, Jacobs ran the Christmas holiday tournament for 14 years. After calling off the tournament, Jacobs disappeared from public view. Shortly thereafter, questions arose surrounding tournament finances, with vendors also complaining about not receiving payment for bills. The Delaware Auditor’s Office staged an in-depth investigation, which uncovered improprieties.

See related: Basketball star’s perks allegedly charged to nonprofit’s credit card

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