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Former Akron basketball star Romeo Travis pleads guilty to wire fraud, could face prison time

The 38-year-old was accused of underreporting income totals in an effort to lower his tax liability and reduce child support payments.

AKRON, Ohio — Former St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and University of Akron basketball star Romeo Travis pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with accusations of underreporting income totals in an effort to lower his tax liability and reduce child support payments.

Travis admitted to federal felony charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A sentencing date has not yet been set, but the 38-year-old faces possible prison time.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Travis and his agent altered his basketball contracts with overseas teams by understating his income, prior to sending those contracts to Travis' tax preparer. In doing so, Travis illegally reduced the amount he would have to pay in taxes, as well as child support payments to an unidentified individual in Stark County.

A native of Akron, Travis was a standout player at St. Vincent-St. Mary, where he played alongside LeBron James. James' friendship with Travis — as well as teammates Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, and Willie McGee — was the subject of the 2008 documentary "More than a Game."

Travis helped the Irish win two OHSAA state championships before following Joyce and his former coach Keith Dambrot to Akron, where he was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference selection and the 2007 MAC Player of the Year. Travis averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game during his four seasons, and in 2020, the Zips retired his No. 24 jersey.

After college, Travis' overseas career (where he committed his crimes) took him to Germany, Israel, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines, France, Italy, and Thailand. The Akron Beacon Journal reports he had recently been serving as an assistant coach for the St. V boys basketball team, with school President Leo P. Hyland releasing the following statement following his arrest:

"It has been published in various media outlets that a member of the St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) community has been charged with two legal matters in federal court. This alleged activity has nothing to do with STVM.

"We understand that this is a personal and very sensitive situation, and we need to respect the rights and privacy of all parties involved. The legal activity remains in progress.

"Accordingly, St. Vincent-St. Mary has no further comment at this time."

Following the guilty plea, Judge Christopher A. Boyko allowed Travis to be released on bond until sentencing, and prosecutors did not object. He also granted Travis' request to be able to travel outside of Northern Ohio from April 5-9.

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