Duquesne Center Could Be Deported
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Duquesne center Simon Ogunlesi is being held in a federal facility in Bedford, Pa., as he awaits a possible deportation hearing for his involvement in a bank fraud scheme.
Ogunlesi was removed from the Allegheny County Jail by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service on Monday night and taken to Bedford. He is expected to be moved soon to another federal facility in York, Pa., where deportation proceedings are regularly held in Pennsylvania.
Ogunlesi, a 6-foot-11 senior center, was arrested in the spring of 1999 for his part in a check and credit card scam that defrauded PNC Bank of $36,000. He was sentenced in federal court in October to three months probation and ordered to pay restitution.
The alleged ringleader of the scam, Robert Unoarumhi, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered deported to his native Nigeria.
Dukes senior guard Jamal Hunter, who also was involved in the scam, was ordered to perform community service and to pay restitution.
Ogunlesi apparently falls under federal guidelines that allow the deportation of aliens living in the United States who are responsible for $10,000 or more of fraud.
Following his 1999 arrest, Ogunlesi was briefly suspended from school and the basketball team, but was allowed to resume playing in December 1999. He was Duquesne’s best player down the stretch last season, averaging 11 points and 9.3 rebounds in the final six games.
He averaged 6.8 points through a Nov. 28 game against West Virginia before being taken into custody. He missed the Dukes’ games Saturday at Bowling Green and Tuesday night at Buffalo.
Duquesne athletic director Brian Colleary and coach Darelle Porter have declined comment about Ogunlesi, although Porter has spoken with Ogunlesi several times in recent days.
The 23-year-old Ogunlesi was born in Scotland, where his mother lives, and has lived in London and Nigeria, where his father lives. He played high school basketball at Word of God High School in Raleigh, N.C., before enrolling in Villanova, where he spent 1 1/2 seasons before transferring to Duquesne.