Two men tried to profit from the plight of cancer-stricken WNBA guard Kim Perrot by soliciting autographed NBA memorabilia for bogus silent auctions on her behalf, FBI officials said yesterday. Agents arrested Gene Lessley Price, 42, of Houston and Moses Mays Jr., 46, of neighboring Missouri City early yesterday morning. The two are each charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud.

"Scam artists is what they were, taking advantage of Kim Perrot's very, very unfortunate circumstance," said Don K. Clark, special agent-in-charge of the Houston FBI office.

Perrot, point guard for the two-time WNBA champion Houston Comets, announced Feb. 22 that an uncommon form of lung cancer had spread to her brain. She first underwent surgery and radiation treatments for the brain tumors and is preparing for chemotherapy for her lungs.

Perrot was at a Comets practice yesterday morning, but did not speak to reporters. According to an indictment, Mays and Price asked for items from several NBA teams to be bid upon at two silent auctions last March. Clark said the auctions never happened.

However, after the purported auction dates, the two continued to tell NBA teams that bids had been taken and their company needed autographed items to pass on to donors.