If you’re an NBA fan and a sneakerhead, you’ve probably wondered once or twice how you might be able to get some of the official exclusive kicks worn by your favorite players without having to sell all your earthly possessions, swear off solid food, and get in over your head with the kind of lenders who might wind up breaking the arm and leg that the gear winds up costing. One good way: show up to the arena on a night where your fave is feeling generous. One bad way: engage in a massive fraud in which you pretend to be steering the career of a wildly successful British balladeer.
No, not the UNC Justin Jackson who just got drafted by the Sacramento Kings. Or the Maryland Justin Jackson who withdrew from the 2017 NBA draft to return to campus for his sophomore year. Or the Cincinnati Justin Jackson who was the American Athletic Conference’s 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, went undrafted, and played pro ball in Greece last season. Those Justin Jacksons probably have more direct hook-ups to NBA players’ sneakers. This Justin Jackson needed to make his own way, and his chosen path has led him into a heap of trouble, David Ovalle of the Miami Heraldaccording to Ovalle:
[A notorious South Florida con man’s] scam targeted a host of other sports stars and celebrities over the years, prosecutors said Tuesday in filing new criminal charges against Justin Jackson and his wife.
According to an arrest warrant filed Tuesday, Jackson used email to pose as Adele’s manager when he:
▪ Offered Adele concert tickets in exchange for sneakers from basketball players Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Bismack Biyombo, among others, purportedly for an auction to benefit charities. He succeeded in getting sneakers shipped to him from NBA stars Paul George, Victor Oladipo and Richard Hamilton.
▪ Created a fake email for the manager of soccer superstar Lionel Messi, in an effort to “add a layer of verisimilitude” to his request to get sneakers from NBA stars.
Jackson and his wife, Angel Lii, were first arrested in May after allegedly pretending to be Adele’s manager to get free tickets to see Kendrick Lamar perform at a Miami hip-hop festival, and face grand theft and identity theft charges in connection with that incident. After revelations of the attempted (and, in the cases of George, Oladipo and Hamilton, apparently successful) sneaker scams, as well as multiple other attempts to secure free tickets to concerts and favors from musicians, authorities charged Jackson and Lii with “more than a dozen new felonies, including counts of identity theft and organized scheme to defraud,” according to Ovalle.
Exactly what kind of punishment Jackson and Lii are looking at isn’t yet clear. “More than a dozen felonies” sure doesn’t sound good, though, friends. Not nearly as good as “not having Victor Oladipo’s sneakers, but having your freedom.”
On one hand, pretending to be somebody you’re not who’s organizing charity auctions that don’t exist so you can get free sneakers is pretty grimy, man. On the other, it is evidently not close to the biggest swing your man Not Any Of The Justin Jacksons We Know has taken over the years:
Jackson served two years in Florida prison after posing as a rep for pop star Madonna, persuading a New York boutique to loan out $2.4 million worth of jewelry in 2007. He later sold the jewelry to a South Florida pawnshop.
He was put on probation after serving his prison time.
You’d think spending two years in prison, and the prospect of many more such years to come for future infractions, would be an effective deterrent to pretending to be someone you’re not to get something that’s not yours for the purposes of profit. Then again … I mean, the PG 1s are pretty nice. It’s a tough call, really.
Here’s hoping The Other Justin Jacksons We Know, and Others We May Come To Know In The Future, will take this as a cautionary tale, keep their noses clean, and decide not to run that elaborate assumed identity confidence game they’d been toying with in their spare time. Down that road lies trouble, gang.
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