The California sheriff’s deputy who launched a lawsuit against Raptors president Masai Ujiri — stemming from a June 2019 incident following Game 6 of the NBA Finals — was once convicted for insurance fraud, according to a published report.
Fox News affiliate KTVU in San Mateo, Calif. reported Sunday that Alan Francis Strickland, the Alameda County sheriff’s deputy behind the lawsuit, was “charged with felony insurance fraud and making false statements on March 31, 1994.”
“Strickland ended up pleading no contest to misdemeanor insurance fraud on Dec. 7, 2005, court records show,” KTVU reported on its website. “The false statement charge, a misdemeanour, was dropped in exchange for the no-contest plea, which has the same legal effect as pleading guilty. The fraud charge was discovered when Strickland was applying to be a San Mateo police officer in 2005 — a job he did not get, KTVU learned after reviewing court documents and investigators’ notes at the time.”
A spokesperson from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said Sunday that the organization would have no comment on the new information. When the suit was originally launched, MLSE said in a statement:
“We are disappointed but not at all surprised Mr. Strickland has elected to take this path. His claims are baseless and entirely without merit. They should and will be viewed appropriately for what they are. The Toronto Raptors and Masai have jointly retained very able counsel who will be handling this matter on our behalf and consequently, we do not intend to make any further statement about it.”
The 48-year-old Strickland was acting as a guard near the Oracle Arena court on the night the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors to win the first championship in franchise history. He tried to prevent Ujiri from going on to the court to take part in the celebration, later claiming Ujiri didn’t have proper credentials. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry eventually escorted Ujiri on to the court to celebrate.
After a lengthy police probe, the possibility of criminal prosecution was dismissed. Months later, however, Strickland filed a suit alleging he was battered and assaulted, suffering injuries to his head, jaw and teeth. He also filed a workers’ compensation claim and has yet to return to his job, KTVU reported.
According to the Fox News affiliate, neither Strickland nor his attorneys had any comment.
While Strickland’s conviction is more than a decade old, three legal analysts told KTVU that the Raptors’ attorneys — Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy in Burlingame, Calif. — are sure to use past behaviour as part of their defence. They declined comment.
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