Nearly three months after the America East Conference tournament was played sans Bearcats, the troubles continue for a former Binghamton University basketball player.
Derrick ‘D.J.’ Rivera was formally indicted at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 1 on three felony counts and a misdemeanor in relation to the use of a stolen debit card.
Rivera, who had been dismissed from the Bearcats in September 2009 for what were then undisclosed reasons, was charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and petit larceny.
He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in Broome County Court.
According to a report compiled by a team of lawyers led by Judge Judith Kaye for the SUNY Board of Trustees, a BU student reported on Sept. 14 that her debit card had been stolen and used illegally.
That same day, junior men’s basketball player Chretien Lukusa told the student that she should check with her bank as he knew a person that may have used her M&T debit card.
The student later received an anonymous text message reading, ‘We have your card and will give you the money we charged later today or tomorrow, give us the exact amount.’
Using security footage obtained from the Walmart on Vestal Parkway where the card was used, police ‘ with the help of Lukusa ‘ were able to identify Bearcats junior transfer Paul Crosby, seniors Rivera and Malik Alvin and another individual ‘putting merchandise into a shopping cart,’ the report said.
According to the report, Lukusa had gone to the police station of his own accord to identify the suspects in the videos.
At this time, Lukusa was accompanied to the station by Rivera, who, according to the Kaye report, told police that he was there because ‘he thought that it might relate to the debit card.’
The report also stated that while at the station, Rivera was able to identify the fourth individual in the video: junior transfer Corey Chandler, a fellow Bearcat.
According to the report, after being identified, Chandler, Crosby and Alvin voluntarily spoke to the police, admitting that they had helped put the merchandise ‘ clothing and a television’ into the cart, but all denied knowledge that the debit card had been stolen.
Rivera, with his attorney, admitted to police on Sept. 18, 2009 that he had found the debit card and used it to buy the merchandise from Walmart. Rivera also confirmed that the other players had no knowledge that the debit card he was using was stolen. According to the report, Rivera told police that he had returned the television and thrown out the clothing that had been purchased.
According to police reports, officers told Rivera that they believed he was taking the fall himself to protect his teammates from indictments.