- Associated Press - Friday, September 2, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (AP) - Former NBA player and Michigan State star Jay Vincent is asking a judge to keep him out of prison so he can repay victims of a fraud scheme.

The 52-year-old Vincent is returning to federal court in Grand Rapids for his sentence Friday. He pleaded guilty to fraud and tax charges. The government says he and an associate defrauded 20,000 people out of more than $1 million by charging them to become certified home inspectors.

In a court filing, prosecutors are recommending nine years in prison. Former NBA star Magic Johnson wrote a letter to the judge asking for “mercy” for Vincent. He says his former college roommate is “incredibly remorseful.”

Johnson and Vincent played on Michigan State’s 1979 national championship team.

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