Yancey Darnell Taylor, a former second-team All-American basketball player who enjoyed a seven-year pro career in Europe, has been charged with two felonies in a theft case that authorities say involved organized crime threats.
Taylor, now 45, has been charged with felony theft by deception and felony theft by extortion in a case authorities say involved a retired school teacher. He has a court appearance scheduled for June 9.
The Indiana Gazette reported that Taylor rented a house from the retired school teacher, Karen Fedrow, and convinced her to give him money for investments. Fedrow told a grand jury that Taylor told her the money was being invested through the Mafia and “The Boss” demanded more money to prevent the lost of funds Fedrow had already paid. A grand jury found Fedrow, 69, paid out $159,000 from her retirement account, a loan against her home, and a savings account designed to cover her daughter’s medical expenses. Investigators believe her total loss could reach $500,000, the Gazette reported.
Fedrow went to authorities, who monitored a meeting between her and the suspect, and Taylor was called before the grand jury shortly thereafter.
Prosecutors, according to the Gazette, reported that Taylor used the money to support his gambling habit. Prosecutors said his gambling losses exceeded the $30,000 annual salary he receives from operating a children’s sports foundation. Prosecutors also said Taylor acknowledged, “I gamble a lot. I think it was a couple hundred thousand. I don’t know exact figures, but I have.”
Taylor’s lawyer told the Herald-Standard his client doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,00 fine.
Taylor had a storied career at Division II Indiana University at Pennsylvania. His name is spread throughout the school’s record books in most categories. He played from 1993-1995, and was on teams that went to the Elite Eight (1994) and the national semi-finals (1995). In 1994, he was a second team All-American and was player of the year in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference that same year. He then played basketball for seven years in Italy and Germany. He was inducted in the IUP Hall of Fame in 2015.