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FBI arrest four NCAA basketball coaches on corruption charges

September 26, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
FBI arrest four NCAA basketball coaches on corruption charges

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Federal prosecutors in New York have unsealed a criminal indictment charging ten people including several top assistant NCAA basketball coaches and an Adidas representative on corruption charges.

Among the coaches arrested by the FBI on Tuesday were Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans Auburn University’s Chuck Person – a former NBA player – and Tony Bland of USC.

Person allegedly accepted $50,000 in bribes from a cooperating witness to steer players to a particular agent.

He faces six charges, including bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes and gratuities, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and travel act conspiracy.

Prosecutors indicted four NCAA basketball coaches including (left to right):  Bland, Richardson, Evans, Person, on federal corruption charges

The co-conspirators in both schemes allegedly concealed the illegal bribes through intermediaries, which is a violation of NCAA rules.

In a statement, Jim Koon, Acting U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District said the indictments were the result of an undercover investigation launched in 2015 targeting two conspiracies.

One conspiracy involved bribes paid to recruits and their families to attend a particular school.

The other involved illicit kickbacks made to players’ advisers to persuade those recruits to sign with agents, managers, and financial advisers, according to court documents.

In total, ten people were named in the federal indictment.

Koon said the charges showed the “dark underbelly of college basketball, coaches exploited the trust of the players they coached and recruited.”

One scheme involved managers and advisors bribing college coaches, who persuaded top recruits and their families to sign with those managers and advisors

“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one,” Koon said. “Coaches at some of the nation’s top programs taking cash bribes, managers and advisors circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company funneling cash to families of high school recruits.”

Officials said federal investigators uncovered ‘numerous instances’ where athlete advisers had bribed assistant coaches and student-athletes at some of the top basketball programs to sway college basketball players turning professional in signing with various agents.

Bribes were also made to top high school recruits and their families to influence their decision towards particular schools.

The documents do not name any particular school.

However, according to the indictment, Bland, Evans, and Richardson, allegedly accepted payments in ‘excess of $10,000 under a Federal Assistance program, which may have involved a grant, loan, subsidy, loan, or guarantee.

Another cheme involved an Adidas rep, James Gatto, and his associates funneling cash to top recruits in order to push them towards colleges that had sponsorship deals with Adidas

Also implicated in the conspiracy were sportswear company representatives including Adidas global sports marketing director Jim Gatto, along with managers, and financial advisers.

Prosecutors charged Gatto and four others with “making and concealing bribe payments’ to student-athletes and their families to attend schools that had sponsorship deals with Adidas, the Daily Mail reported.

Gatto and his co-conspirators Allegedly funneled $100,000 to the family of a blue chip recruit to attend a particular university in Kentucky.

Adidas global sports marketing director Jim Gatto was also named as a defendant

Although the school was not named, the University of Louisville recently signed a mega deal with Adidas this past August worth $160 million.

A federal agent involved in the investigation said Gatto allegedly told other co-conspirators that the kickback payments were registered on the company’s books, but not allocated in an honest manner.

Moreover, prosecutors say Gatto and the other defendants used non-profit organizations as a way to cover up the bribe payments.

Adidas released a statement on Tuesday: “Today, we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee. We are learning more about the situation. We’re unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more.”

Others charged include Jonathan Brad Augustine, president of nonprofit The League Initiative; former Nike Elite Youth Basketball League head Merl Code; and player agent Christian Dawkins, who was reportedly fired by ASM Sports for charging $42,000 in Uber rides on an NBA player’s credit card.

Dawkins, Augustine, and Munish Sood, an adviser, are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate James L. Cott in federal court later today.

FBI arrests NCAA basketball coaches and Adidas rep in bribery probe from CNBC.

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