Actor Antwon Tanner, a regular on the popular teen drama "One Tree Hill," was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn to 3 months in prison for dealing in stolen Social Security numbers.
"The court is troubled that someone in Mr. Tanner's position, making the funds he is making, engages in this type of criminal conduct," U.S. District Judge Carol Amon said. "It seems to be solely for greed."
Tanner, 34, a California resident, is best known for his role as a point guard in the basketball movie "Coach Carter," which starred Samuel L. Jackson. He also has appeared in such TV shows as "Boston Public," "CSI" and "NYPD Blue."
He was charged last year with receiving $10,000 for selling the Social Security numbers to an undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
The agent told Tanner he wanted the numbers to give to illegal immigrants he wanted to employ, prosecutors said, but Tanner also urged him to consider using them for mortgage and identity fraud.
The actor said he was recruited into the scheme by people who persuaded him that the numbers were legal, but admitted that a "voice in my head" told him all along that it was a crime.
"I've worked so hard to get where I have," he told Amon, describing the episode as "an embarrassment to my family, my kids, my wife, my fans."
Tanner's lawyer, Gregory Watts, said his client made a healthy, six-figure income from "One Tree Hill" and has not been fired from the show. He said the actor suffered serious financial reversals and lost a $1-million house in California to foreclosure in the real estate collapse.
He disputed Amon's assertion that Tanner's motive was greed.
"I would say it was stupidity," Watts said.
Tanner was given until April 30 to report to prison and ordered to serve 5 months' home detention after he is released.