Sarah Phillips used pictures of other women and said they were her when “she” wrote a column for sports gambling website Covers.com. In case you’re new to the story, Phillips is someone who became popular in the Covers.com forums, parlayed that into writing a column for them, and then was hired to write for ESPN.com’s Page 2. Phillips was fired by ESPN after Deadspin exposed the alleged fraud and potential identity theft used by Phillips to get where she did. They exposed the multiple scams she allegedly ran.
One of the things Deadspin pointed out is that Phillips used different pictures as her identity in her writing debut for Covers. Strangely enough, some people have identified the pictures used by Phillips as an Oregon hairdresser named Ivy Smith.
The picture on the left is the one Phillips used in her Covers debut column. She has an arrow pointing to the blonde on the left and claims that’s her. On the right is a picture found in the Myspace profile of an Ivy Smith from Eugene, Oregon. The blondes seem to match, and the friend on the right seems to be the same one in both pictures.
The Ivy Smith Myspace profile (found by Lindsay Joy) shows a girl who went to Sheldon High School in Oregon from 2001-2005 and lists her occupation as a hairdresser. There’s also a LinkedIn profile for an Ivy Smith from Medford, Oregon who lists herself as an “Independent Writing and Editing Professional.” Do Smith and Phillips know each other? It’s possible — their time at Sheldon would have overlapped.
We’ve also found much more evidence that proves Sarah Phillips from Oregon does indeed exist. The photos of a young Sarah Phillips from Oregon match the photos that accompany the Sarah Phillips Twitter and ESPN Page 2 profiles.
Jeromy at The Sports Brewery found several pictures of Sarah Phillips playing basketball and soccer growing up. Below is one of her soccer team photos:
It looks just like the Sarah Phillips who posted a video to YouTube last week:
Jeromy also dug up an old article that appeared in The Register Guard — a Eugene, Oregon newspaper — that talked about Sarah Phillips scoring a goal for Sheldon to beat North Medford. The same Sarah Phillips on Twitter even confirmed with an Oregon reporter that she played soccer growing up.
Phillips also told Jeromy of The Sports Brewery over Twitter that she’s an Oregon Duck but attending Oregon State online courses. That could be how she met Navin Prasad — the associate in her alleged scams.
LBS staff writer Sawley Vickrey chased down the Facebook page for a Navin Prasad who appears to be (or have been) a student at Oregon State.
A screenshot of Prasad’s Facebook page, showing that he likes the Heat and LeBron James, is below:
Prasad’s “Activities and Interests” include: NBA Memes, NBA on TNT, Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc. – Oregon State Associate Chapter
His recent wall activity shows he recently “liked” NBA Memes.
NBA Memes is the Facebook group he and Sarah are alleged to have hijacked through their scamming. It’s also clear he’s an NBA fan, which fits right in with Sarah, who frequently talked about the Heat and the NBA.
So to recap: Sarah Phillips and Navin Prasad are real people from Oregon who seem to have combined on a massive scheme to publicize a web venture they were creating. They seemed to have scammed people into turning control of popular Twitter and/or Facebook accounts over to them. Once they had control of these vastly popular accounts, they used them to promote their new company — the Sports Comedy Network.
Separately, Phillips seems to have tried to get people to pay her thousands of dollars through different means. LBS writer Sawley Vickrey speculated she began doing that after getting into serious debt from all her sports betting. His theory is as good as any out there.
Based on the information collected, it looks like these two, and anyone else who participated in their alleged schemes, could be investigated for and possibly indicted on several charges of fraud and possibly identity theft.
Just as a reminder, ESPN hired this scheming Sarah Phillips to write for their website without ever having met her.Google+