Father of Wolves' Muhammad headed to prison for 3 years

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The father of Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $1.7 million in restitution after he pleaded guilty in a Las Vegas mortgage fraud case.

According to the Associated Press, Ronald Holmes apologized Thursday before U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks sentenced him to 37 months in prison and five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. Prosecutors agreed to drop two bank fraud charges in exchange for the guilty plea.

The AP says Holmes will begin his sentence May 30.

In a brief filed last week, Holmes told the FBI he received a loan based on his son's future professional basketball earnings. Estimated at $350,000 in another court document, the loan was Holmes' principal source of income.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the arrangement could be a violation of NCAA rules. The Times report says NCAA rules do not permit loans based on athletic skill or a future as a professional athlete. The rules also do not allow athletes or their families to accept benefits from agents that aren't also available to the general student body.

Muhammad played one season of college basketball at UCLA before he was drafted by the Wolves.

Muhammed wrote a letter to the judge last week seeking leniency.

According to the LA Times report, Muhammad wrote, "My dad is an integral part in my life and I need him very much in it. I know for a fact my dad is most happy about me becoming a professional basketball player because of the opportunity to help myself and others."

Muhammad has played sparingly with the Wolves during his rookie season. He signed a two-year rookie contract for $3.86 million. This season he has averaged 3.1 points in 31 games for the Wolves.

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