Thursday, July 12, 2012
Coco Crisp's friend found guilty
LOS ANGELES -- A longtime friend of Coco Crisp was convicted Thursday of 14 counts of fraud and identity theft for running up about $30,000 on the Oakland Athletics outfielder's credit card without his permission.
Marcus Andrews, 32, of Inglewood, Calif., was found guilty of multiple counts of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft during a bench trial, authorities said. Andrews faces between two to 20 years in prison when he's expected to be sentenced Aug. 20.
Prosecutors said Andrews, who grew up with Crisp in Southern California, began using the outfielder's American Express card without his knowledge in November 2010. Over the course of the next three months, Andrews received more than $25,000 in gift cards by tapping Crisp's account.
He also obtained $4,000 in gift checks that were earned by redeeming rewards points on the credit card account.
It wasn't until Crisp's wife noticed the purchase of a shotgun and a 9mm handgun on their statement did the couple realize someone was fraudulently using their credit card, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Pilgrim.
"Marcus Andrews had a passion for guns," Pilgrim said.
Andrews attempted to spend another $30,000 using Crisp's credit card but the charges were declined, authorities said.
Crisp, also 32, testified Wednesday that he helped out Andrews in the past and was disappointed his good friend had tried to take advantage of him.
"He said his circle of trust had been compromised," Pilgrim said.
An email message left for attorney Mark Melnick, who represented Andrews, was not immediately returned.
Andrews told authorities he believed he was authorized to use Crisp's card at one point and had hoped to resolve the dispute amicably without law enforcement's involvement.
Andrews spent some of the money at comedy clubs and bars in Vancouver, Canada, authorities said.
Crisp has an 11-year professional career, playing with the A's, Red Sox, Royals and Indians.