Former Gopher Sam Jacobson, Wife Plead Guilty to Mortgage Fraud Charges

Sam Jacobson in 1997 Photo: KSTP/File
Sam Jacobson in 1997

November 14, 2017 09:12 AM

Former University of Minnesota and Park of Cottage Grove basketball star Sam Jacobson and his wife Traci each pleaded guilty to residential mortgage fraud charges Monday in Dakota County court.

They are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29.


Jacobson, who helped lead the Gophers to a now-vacated berth in the Final Four as a junior in 1997, was accused of convincing his lender, JPMorgan Chase, to approve a short sale of his Apple Valley home to his then-girlfriend and now wife Traci in 2011 because of financial struggles.

Traci Jacobson pleaded guilty to residential mortgage fraud-aiding and abetting.

The sale, for $361,892.23, contained an "Arm's Length Transaction," in which both Jacobson and his wife (then Traci Quam) stipulated the "transaction has been negotiated by unrelated parties, each of whom is acting in his or her own self-interest, and that the sale priced is based on fair market value of the Property."

However, the criminal complaint alleges Traci Jacobson told authorities that "on paper, Sam moved out," but "... in reality, he didn't." She said Jacobson's children also continued living in the home when they were staying with him.

Jacobson had informed Chase that Quam wanted to "lower the offer on the home if Samuel Jacobson could stay in the property," but he was reportedly informed by a Chase representative that could not happen.

Jacobson also acknowledged she had been living "most of the time" at the home with Jacobson before the sale, a fact not presented to JPMorgan Chase, and which Chase officials said would have prevented approval of the short sale.

The complaint also states Traci Jacobson sold the home in December 2011 for $538,000, receiving a check for $226,793.06, which she deposited in a savings account.

The complaint goes on to allege Traci Jacobson used the proceeds from that sale to buy a new home on July 20, 2012, the same day Sam proposed to her. The couple were married in June of 2013.

The complaint states Apple Valley police were first alerted to the matter in May 2013 following a complaint from Jacobson's ex-wife.

Ryan Garry, Sam Jacobson's attorney, said his client apologizes for what he said was a "lack of judgment," and he added Jacobson has finalized a restitution settlement with Chase.

"Sam realizes that his decisions regarding a short sale during the volatile 2011 real estate market represented a lack of judgment, for which he sincerely apologizes," Garry said in a statement. "He has always held himself to the highest degree of ethical character both on and off the court. He has admitted his mistake and finalized a complete restitution settlement with Chase Bank. 

"In short, he is making it right. Sam is grateful for the constant support from his family and friends." 

Jacobson, who also led the University of Minnesota to an NIT title as a senior in 1998, went on to a brief NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves from 1998 to 2001 before playing overseas.

This post has been edited to clarify the charge to which Traci Jacobson pleaded guilty Monday.


Frank Rajkowski

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