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Businessmen targets of hoops scheme
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Forsyth County News

New details are emerging in an alleged scam involving two Forsyth County businessmen and a minor league basketball executive.

Quentin Townsend, 32, of Snellville is accused of taking $200,000 from his business partners under the guise of starting an NBA minor league team.

The team purportedly would have been part of the NBA Development League, also known as the D-League, the NBA's official minor league.

Townsend remains in custody in Forsyth County on a $600,000 bond after his arrest late last week on charges of theft by deception.

Townsend is co-owner of the Atlanta Vision, a Duluth-based minor league basketball team competing in the American Basketball Association. He is also president and chief operating officer of the league.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Investigator Charles Adams said Townsend took the money from his Atlanta Vision partners, Carter Patterson and Bryan Richey, deposited it in the team's bank account and then used it to pay personal bills.

Adams said Patterson and Richey operate multiple businesses in Forsyth. He said Townsend approached them in January with a plan to make some money.

"He got with these guys and said, 'Me and my family are putting in $800,00 to start this (development league) team,'" Adams said.

He said Townsend told Patterson and Richey that the NBA required them to put up $1 million to start the team.

It appears a forged letter was the slam dunk Townsend needed to get the money from his partners.

Adams said Townsend presented Patterson and Richey with the letter, which appeared to be from the D-League.

It outlined the requirements to start the team and included the forged signature of Chris Alpert, the D-League's director of basketball operations and player personnel.

"This letter shot him out of the water," Adams said.

However, Adams said, an affidavit from the law firm that represents the basketball giant denies the letter's validity.

The investigator said Townsend had also set up the paperwork, including contracts and schedules, for the fraud.

Townsend was arrested, Adams said, while he was in a divorce hearing in Gwinnett County. He was held in Gwinnett until he could be taken to Forsyth.

According to the Atlanta Vision Web site, Townsend's estranged wife, Akilah Townsend, is in charge of community initiatives and the Vision Ladies Dance Team.

She and Townsend are also co-founders of the nonprofit organization, Vision of Excellence, the Web site says.
Patterson and Richey, operating as Jayhawk Sports, also filed a civil suit against Townsend in September in Gwinnett County Superior Court.

According to information published on the ABA's Web site, the organization named Townsend its president and chief operating officer in April.

The association posted a notice Wednesday saying that Townsend had been suspended and relieved of all duties pending the outcome of the charges against him.

Joe Newman, the association's CEO, released a statement saying the suspension is in the best interest of the league.

"We will not comment on the allegations and will leave it to the judicial system to determine his guilt or innocence," he said. "Quentin has been an excellent president and team owner and we hope for a positive result."