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Former Atlantic City mayor who stole $86K from youth basketball club gets only 30 days in prison

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – The former Democratic mayor of Atlantic City was recently sentenced to just 30 days in federal prison for stealing $86,000 from a youth basketball club that the former mayor started.

While the former mayor was also given a probation tail of three years in addition to eleven months of home confinement, the doled out sentence by the judge with regard to time in federal prison was a far cry from what prosecutors were aiming for.

On January 28th, former Atlantic City mayor Frank Gilliam was sentenced for stealing $86,000 from a youth basketball club – that he started.

The sentencing hearing was reportedly conducted via a Zoom meeting, where Gilliam was reportedly begging for leniency from the federal judge with regard to his crime.

When speaking to U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez, Gilliam stated the following:

“I stand before this court as a fractured human being. The mistake that I made is not something that I am proud of. It is something that I’m very ashamed of…I want to apologize to this court for being in front of you when I knew better.”

After the hearing was conducted, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Gilliam to 30 days in prison, 11 months of home confinement, and three years of probation – as well as 200 hours of community service and restitution.

For the sake of perspective, prosecutors were seeking a period of incarceration somewhere between 15 to 21 months.

While embroiled in this pilfering scandal, Gilliam had been defrauding the AC Starz monetarily, which is a nonprofit youth basketball team that he founded. It is reported that the money that was stolen from the NPO was used to facilitate his luxurious lifestyle.

Judge Rodriguez commented on Gilliam using the ill-gotten gains to bankroll his lifestyle, saying:

“He took money from children who deserved it most. The money was spent selfishly on himself.”

As with many sentencing hearings, there were testimonials provided that aimed to portray Gilliam’s previous endeavors as a productive member of the community; hoping the judge would consider leniency when it came time for sentencing.

Judge Rodriguez addressed those positive testimonials afforded to Gilliam, saying:

“It is unfortunate that when an idol falls, the ripple effects are extensive, and disappointing for many… This does not mean that because he has committed so many good deeds along the way that he gets a pass on his criminal conduct.”

Gilliam had reportedly resigned from his role as mayor of Atlantic City back in October of 2019, after he had pled guilty to wire fraud in federal court. His sentencing hearing had been reportedly rescheduled six times since he’d pled guilty over one year prior to being sentenced.

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Gilliam’s attorney, Harry Rimm, had reportedly aimed to have the former mayor spend zero time in prison for the offense he was convicted of, as well as asking that Gilliam only serve probation and do 500 hours of community service without having to pay restitution.

Furthermore, Rimm stressed during the sentencing hearing that Gilliam committed his criminal acts as a private citizen – and was not engaged in criminal activity via conduct commenced through his former official capacity as a mayor.

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In other news related to New Jersey and money-related debacles, the state has reportedly seized the money of a gym co-owner’s legal defense fund. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in January. 

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BELLMAWR, NJ- Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been widely reported that the elderly and people with co-morbidities were most vulnerable to the virus. Co-morbidities can entail any number of things such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders and diabetes, as well as obesity.

With that in mind, one would assume that being healthy and in good physical condition would be encouraged by the government. Apparently not, as the owners of a New Jersey gym have been finding out, according to Fox News.

The Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey has been embroiled in an ongoing battle with New Jersey state officials over defying Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus mandates since back in the spring. And this week, the owners of the gym, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti found out that New Jersey has taken the battle to a whole new level.

Appearing on Fox News “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” on Thursday, Smith said New Jersey “emptied out every single dollar that we have” amid the legal battle over millions of dollars of fines assessed by the state upon the two gym owners.

“As of yesterday morning, my partner [Frank Trumbetti] and I checked the bank statement…and we had no money in our bank account,” Smith told Tucker Carlson.

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On Wednesday, Smith tweeted that Murphy “and his cronies” had seized “100%” of their legal defense funds, an amount which he said totaled $173,613.60.

Smith said the money was for the pair’s legal defense fund and claimed that by seizing the funds, it amounted to “effectively and intentionally interfering with our right to council [sic].

“If you think that’s gonna make us stand down, you’re delusional.”

In an Instagram post, Smith said:

Governor Phil Murphy seized 100% of our assets today–$165k, all of which came from donations and apparel sales. This is done in the middle of ongoing litigation defending ourselves against these fines, our 80 charges, the revocation of our business license, and the unconstitutional health department shutdown.

This was never about protection, it was always about control.

Please continue to support us in any way possible. There is a link to our GoFundMe in my bio and a link to our apparel store. Please share as much as you possibly can this story and help us continue our fight.

We also passed 105k visits to the facility today and still have no reported outbreaks. Weird.

We love you guys. Thank you.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ian Smith (@iansmithfitness)

Under current coronavirus regulations, gyms are permitted to remain open in the Garden State, as long as they comply with COVID-19 mandates. Smith said that patrons of Atilis Gym are not required to wear face masks, which violates the mandates. The gym is being fined $15,000 every day it remains open while ignoring Murphy’s dictates.

“This is in the middle of an appeals process and ongoing litigation in the matter of the fines and several other matters regarding the state, including a lawsuit against Murphy and [State Health Commissioner] Judith Persichilli,” Smith told Carlson.

Carlson’s staff reached out to the state of New Jersey, to which the New Jersey Attorney General’s office told the program in an email that Smith’s information “is not accurate.”

“The State has not seized their bank account funds,” the spokesman said. “However, the state has obtained judgments against the owners, and intends to collect on them. The total due and owing as a result of court-entered judgments to date is $134,463.08.”

In other words, the state appeared to engage in a bit of word salad.

A subsequent email indicated that $165,222.16 in assets had been “frozen as a result of a bank levy having been issued due to the State’s collection efforts.”

“Again, we can confirm that we’re seeking to collect on the judgement that has been entered into–$134,463.08,” he concluded. “Whether that affects the entire balance of the gym’s funds is a question to ask the bank.”

Smith told Carlson that the gym will continue to hold fundraisers for their legal defense fund and said that any future funds collected would be held as cash assets.

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“We put out a call for help to the many people who have supported us from the beginning and the many people who have learned about our story along the way,” he said.

Tucker Carlson pointed out the obvious hypocrisy and irony over the owners of a gym “being punished for trying to keep people healthy and trim in the middle of a pandemic that kills people who are overweight and out of shape.

“You are doing more than he [Murphy] has to save people’s lives,” Carlson said, “and of course you are being destroyed for it.”

Carlson asked Smith how many cases of COVID-19 had been tracked back to the gym, to which Smith said “none.”

The Atilis Gym has been on the forefront of businesses impacted by the coronavirus restrictions which were initially supposed to be “14 days to flatten the curve” and which have morphed into over ten months of restrictions on businesses.

Back in July, both Smith and Trumbetti were arrested after they defied a court order which led to authorities shutting the gym down. Five days later, a video was posted showing both owners kicking down wooden barricades used to block the gym entrance.

Smith also told Carlson that the gym has not been charging its customers since the shutdowns began, and all the money seized was from their legal defense funds.

Back in August as Law Enforcement Today reported, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rik Mehta designated the gym as a campaign headquarters, which effectively exempted the gym from shutdown orders for the remainder of his senatorial campaign.

Finally in December, Smith went to Trenton (New Jersey’s state capital) to personally serve Murphy with a recall petition with the hopes of forcing an April recall election.

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