Chris Gatling, a 6-10 former All-Star and 10-year veteran of the league, has been charged with two counts of theft and forgery, one count of taking the identity of another and one count of fraud.
Here’s the drop:
Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney‘s Office, said Gatling has pleaded not guilty. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 7 and a trial date is set for Aug. 8.
He turned himself in March 12, and authorities released him after bail of $2,800 was posted.
“We believe this to be a misunderstanding, and we are working to resolve the matter,” Gatling’s attorney Michael Alarid said.
He would not elaborate.
Authorities believe Gatling, 45, lived in a four-bedroom house in the 6500 block of North 63rd Place in Paradise Valley from July 2010 to August 2011, without the consent of the owner, Priscilla Jones, who has since sold the home.
Records show that during this time, Gatling obtained an Arizona driver’s license using the residence as his home address.
In July 2011, Gatling also attempted to rent out the property and signed a rental agreement with prospective tenant Stacey Ezel. He cashed her two cashier’s checks before she and the homeowner discovered Gatling was living there illegally, according to a police report.
The cashiers checks were $800 for first month’s rent and $800 for the security deposit. According to the report, Ezel responded to an ad on Craigslist, which read: “$800/4 br – EX NBA-Paradise Valley Home for rent with Pool & Utility included … Going back to Miami, Mexico City, Italy for a year or 2 need someone to watch my home here in PV and what a great place, close to everything and Very Very Quite! Really looking for a Woman, but guys can feel free to contact as well … (Just Like a Women’s touch).”
Ezel signed the lease agreement, but Gatling never gave her the keys to the house. Consequently, she researched the property on the county assessor’s website and contacted Jones, who was living in California at the time, records show.
A report indicates that in June 2010, after being referred by an acquaintance of the owner, Gatling contacted the owner looking to rent the home but never finalized a lease agreement because of poor credit. Gatling is accused of later breaking into a key lock box to gain access to the residence, which was furnished with running utilities, according to records.
Officials said a four-bedroom single-family residence in Paradise Valley with a pool and guest house could rent for more than $2,000 a month, causing a loss of as much as $25,000 to the homeowner.
Authorities also charged Gatling with forgery, alleging that he forged and cashed two checks totaling $1,800 belonging to his then-girlfriend Julie David a few months after she lived in the house with him. The checks were written out to College Bound All-Stars, a traveling youth basketball league that Gatling owned and operated.
Here’s some history on the former NBA star Chris Gatling
Chris Gatling was drafted in 91 to the Golden State Warriors then traded to the Miami Heat halfway through the 1995–96 season. He played next with the Milwaukee Bucks for the final thirty games of the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season. He split the 1999–2000 season with the Denver Nuggets and the Orlando Magic. His final two NBA seasons saw him with the Cleveland Cavaliers and again. He retired in 2001 – 2002 season.