Basketball coach pleads guilty in car theft ring

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The women’s basketball coach at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas pleaded guilty to being part of a car theft ring.

William Smith, the former women’s basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State University, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy and five counts of mail fraud.

Prosecutors say Smith and 20 other people — mostly from the St. Louis area — stole or fraudulently obtained vehicles from individuals and automobile dealerships in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. They then staged accidents and filed false theft reports to obtain insurance money.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports ( ) Smith pleaded guilty to obtaining fraudulent transfer titles from the Osage Nation for five vehicles in 2011 and 2012. The transfer titles allowed the vehicles to be resold.

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