Ex head coach on $20K fraud charge

POLICE have charged a former head coach and operations manager of Gladstone basketball team, the Port City Power, with fraud.

Police will allege a 49-year-old Jamboree Heights man fraudulently stole $20,000 from Gladstone Basketball Association between August and November 2015.

That man is Derek Rucker, the head coach and operations manager during that time.

Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey said Gladstone police from the Criminal Investigation Branch travelled to Brisbane yesterday to conduct an interview, however said the man declined the opportunity and was charged with fraudulent activities.

"At the time police have taken up with a 49-year-old male in regards to a complaint that's been received from the Gladstone basketball association," Det Snr Srg Peachey said.

"This complaint relates to a fraud in excess of $20,000.

"Police will allege that [the offence happened] between the periods August 2015 and November 2015 where the person used in excess of $20,000 for his own use," Det Snr Srg Peachey said.

Although police would not confirm what the money was spent on, "police will allege at the time this person was employed by the Gladstone Basketball Association as their operations manager and also the head coach of the Port City Power".

"It will be alleged that last year, a man obtained a credit card as part of his role at the association, but used it in a personal capacity," a police statement read.

"It is further alleged that he transferred money from the association's bank account to his own."

President of the Gladstone Basketball Association Barry Maluga said neither he nor the organisation would make any comment until the case appeared in court.

But a former player --- who played under Mr Rucker --- said he was a very charismatic guy who made people fall in love with the game of basketball again.

"People loved him," he said. "He was a very intelligent and professional guy."

Basketball Queensland issued a statement later in the day yesterday that acknowledged the fraud charges against the former head coach.

In the statement, Basketball Queensland said it would be "investigating the matter further to determine if we should take any action under our by-laws".

Mr Rucker is also an American-Australian former professional basketball player who was in the National Basketball League for 15 seasons. He is now an NBL commentator with Fox Sports.

He was given a Notice to Appear in the Gladstone Magistrate Court on May 25 to answer charges of fraud - dishonestly obtain property from another by employee and fraud - dishonestly gain a benefit by employee.



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