Chris Gatling arrested in online credit card scam
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Former NBA All-Star Chris Gatling ran a massive online fraud scheme using credit cards of people from across the nation, Scottsdale police said Saturday.
Gatling was released from jail after being booked on fraud schemes, aggravated identity theft and forgery, police spokesman Kevin Watts said. His arrest Thursday was first reported by TMZ.com.
Gatling, 47, met a Scottsdale fitness studio owner on a dating website earlier this year, according to police. He told the victim that he operated several Internet businesses that created websites and fixed credit. He persuaded her to charge credit card numbers for him through her business, authorities said. Gatlin allegedly told her she could have 10 percent of the dollar amounts charged, but he would get 90 percent. He also convinced her to give him his share upfront in cash, investigators said.
The charges were later deemed unauthorized and charged back to the victim. She lost $90,000 and was forced to close her fitness studio.
Police detectives said their investigation led to the discovery that Gatling was juggling multiple online businesses that were used to gather credit card numbers. The numbers were then run through other businesses for services that the cardholders never authorized, police said. The entire operation was based in a call center in Phoenix. But police said they have heard from alleged victims from around the U.S.
Michael Alarid III, an attorney who represented Gatling in a separate 2012 theft and forgery case, did not immediately return a call Saturday seeking comment.
Gatling, who was already on probation in that case, was taken into custody while meeting with his probation officer. The general manager of his business was also arrested the same day. Search warrants were served on both their homes. More charges could be filed after further review of evidence, Watts said.
Gatling is in the middle of a four-year probation sentence. He was sentenced in December 2013 for squatting at a Phoenix area home and then trying to list the property for rent online. Gatling broke into a key box at the Paradise Valley home and lived there for a year, according to Maricopa County prosecutors. The homeowners were living in California, but they had left the power on. Gatling pleaded guilty to one count each of theft and forgery.
Gatling, a 6-foot-10 power forward, averaged 10.3 points in an 11-year NBA career that ended in 2002. He played for Golden State, Miami, Dallas, New Jersey, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Denver and Cleveland and was an All-Star in 1997.