*My, how the tables have turned.
Brian Banks, 27, was once a promising young high school football prospect.
His realization of playing at the collegiate level was just beyond reach. Then suddenly, the brakes we’re slammed on his future. Banks’ life as he knew it was brought to ruin by a young female student who accused him of rape during his senior year at Long Beach Poly High School.
Wanetta Gibson claimed that she was ravished on campus by the football star. The alleged incident sparked a schoolwide controversy, and even prompted media attention. Despite his pleas of innocence, Banks was found guilty, and sentenced to prison.
However, it was later discovered that Gibson had grossly embellished her story to the judge. In other words, she knowingly fibbed in a court of law. Banks was subsequently released from prison in May 2012.
Gibson’s infraction will cost her–big time.
In response to her dishonesty, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) has ordered Gibson to return $2.6 million, which includes the $750,000 settlement she received from the district as well as interest, legal fees and $1 million in punitive damages, reports show.
“The court recognizes that our school district was a victim in this case,” school Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “This judgment demonstrates that when people attempt to defraud our school system, they will feel the full force of the law.”
The judgment may turn out to be largely symbolic: Gibson didn’t show up in court and apparently has long since blown through the $750,000.
Court records in other cases Gibson has been involved in indicate that she and her children have received public assistance.
After Banks was released from prison, Gibson contacted him, and he secretly recorded a conversation in which she acknowledged that her rape claim was false. Among the statements Gibson made on tape were, “I will go through with helping you, but all that money they gave us, I mean, gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back.”
Banks is now hoping to jump-start his football career as a 27-year-old rookie for the Falcons.