Former NBA player sentenced to probation

ATLANTA — A former NBA player was sentenced Thursday to probation and ordered to pay restitution after pleading guilty to financial transaction card fraud, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said.

Ronald Michael Behagen, 60, who played seven seasons in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks and other teams, faces three years of probation and must pay $3, 570 in restitution.

According to prosecutors, between April and June 2011, Behagen used a 68-year old Sandy Springs woman’s ATM card 40 times to withdraw $7,140 from the woman’s bank account, Howard’s office said in a news release.

The victim’s ex-husband alerted authorities after he found numerous transactions on a bank statement, and the transactions were captured on the bank’s surveillance camera, according to investigators.

Behagen’s friend, Valla Rider, gave him the ATM card, prosecutors said. Rider, who was also indicted, was a caretaker for the victim who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to Howard’s office.

Rider in August 2011 pleaded guilty to financial transaction card fraud and was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Behagen played seven seasons of professional basketball in the NBA as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Kansas City Kings, New Orleans Jazz, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Sprinkel with assistance from Senior ADA Rewa Collier and DA Investigator Archie Stowe. Detective Michael Bailey of the Sandy Springs Police Department led the initial investigation.

About the author

Express Telegraph

Express-Telegraph is a news outlet for the 21st century. Based in Metro Atlanta, the outlet focuses on news, politics and sports centered on The Peach State. Get on board the Express.