Francis Ngissah, 24, operated a now-closed private basketball academy.

Roseville basketball academy president arrested again

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 - 7:46 am

The man already accused of inflicting corporal punishment on students at his Roseville basketball academy was arrested again Wednesday on seven felony counts related to financial transgressions.

Francis Amiteye Ngissah, 24, was first arrested Jan. 8 after four students of his CCSE Preparatory Academy told the Roseville Police Department that they had been forced to stand in a corner, restrained with zip ties and sometimes had clothespins clamped on their nipples as punishment.

He was arrested again on Feb. 13 on forgery and fraud charges for allegedly buying furniture with bad checks.

Wednesday's arrest stemmed from three additional fraud cases, authorities said.

Ngissah is suspected of paying two Roseville businesses for auto parts and groceries with checks from closed accounts.

He also is suspected of signing over the deed to the home he was renting as collateral to a bail bondsman, said Dee Dee Gunther, a spokeswoman for the department. The home's owner, Steve Putnam, said he is in the process of evicting Ngissah and said he is owed $21,000 in back rent.

Earlier this month police were called to the home Ngissah rents from Putnam after there was a disturbance when the landlord tried to enter the residence. At that time, Putnam displayed copies of bad checks he said were written to him by Ngissah.

"This guy is just one thing after the other," Putnam said. He said it has been a struggle to get the rent from Ngissah from the beginning of their relationship.

Ngissah was arrested at the rental home Wednesday without incident and booked into the Roseville city jail. The charges include two counts of forgery, two counts of burglary (entering a business with the intent to commit fraud), theft and other related charges. He is being held in lieu of $55,000 bail.

The CCSE academy opened in summer 2012, with several international students arriving, but the reality never matched the glossy dreams promised on the school's website. For tuition of $10,000 – plus another $5,000 for live-in students – the school said it would help student athletes get accepted into elite college basketball programs.

Students lived and were taught in the six-bedroom home rented from Putnam and practiced basketball at a local gym.

The athletes did not play against other area high schools but were scheduled to play games and in tournaments against other specialized basketball schools throughout the country.

Only a handful of games were played before the team's coach quit, saying he hadn't been paid. The school was closed after Ngissah was arrested in January.

Even after all of the students were gone and an eviction loomed, Ngissah remained in the six-bedroom home.

Ngissah made at least one earlier attempt to start a school, submitting an application to the Robla School District in 2011 to create a "sports and entertainment academy." Robla Superintendent Ruben Reyes said the district board had some serious problems with the plan and rejected it.

According to information on the Robla application submitted by Ngissah, he started a company at age 16, patented an invention while in high school and was a freshman on a U.S. champion Academic Decathlon team.

After his clash with Putnam earlier this month, Ngissah declined a request for an interview, referring calls to his media department. It's unclear whether one exists.

Wednesday night, Ngissah remained in jail in Roseville.

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