Four College Basketball Coaches Charged With Bribery And Fraud [Updated]

Photo credit: Bill Wippert/AP

Four college basketball coaches have been arrested after being charged by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney with various counts of bribery and fraud. The arrests resulted from a nearly two-year investigation that examined the shady links between college basketball coaches and outside businesses, including agency firms, financial advisors, and Adidas. The coaches named in the now unsealed documents are Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans, Auburn’s Chuck Person, USC’s Tony Bland, and Arizona’s Emanuel Richardson. None of the involved schools have responded to our requests for comment. You can read the full list of charges at the bottom of this post

Also charged for their roles in attempting to steer young players to specific schools or agencies for personal gain were Munish Sood, the chief investment officer for a financial advisory group; Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent; Rashan Michel, a founder and operator of a clothing company in Atlanta; Merl Code, an Adidas employee; Jonathan Brad Augustine, an AAU director with ties to Adidas; and Jim Gatto, director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas.

Several universities are referenced in the charges, but none are explicitly named though. The art of deduction allows for some easy connections, though, as the reports name the locations and enrollment sizes of the schools. The FBI claims that Gatto paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to the families of elite recruits to steer them toward Adidas schools, including Louisville, which is referenced as “Uni 6″ in the documents as well. Several Louisville writers have deduced that the referenced transgression was a payment to five-star forward Brian Bowen, who, according to the document, flipped his commitment to Louisville after receiving a $100,000 payment set up by Gatto.

Evans, Richardson, and Bland allegedly took money from Dawkins and Sood in exchange for pushing their players to use Dawkins’s former agency (he was fired for racking up $42,000 in Uber bills on a player’s credit card) and Sood’s financial advisor services. The group was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes and gratuities by an agent of a federally funded organization (Evans, Richardson, and Bland only), payments of bribes and gratuities to an agent of a federally funded organization (Dawkins and Sood), conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services wire fraud (“Uni 2″ and “Uni 3″), honest services wire fraud (“Uni 4″), honest services wire fraud (“Uni 5″), wire fraud conspiracy, and travel act conspiracy.

Person and Michel, who was arrested for trying to beat up Dominique Wilkins over some suits in 2011, are being brought up on six counts: Bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes and gratuities, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, travel act conspiracy. Gatto, Code, Dawkins, Augustine, and Sood were charged with wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is holding a press conference at noon to discuss the charges and the state of the case moving forward. The full complaints can be read below.

Update (11:46 a.m. ET): Oklahoma State sent along the following statement regarding the charges against Lamont Evans:

We were surprised to learn this morning of potential actions against one of our assistant basketball coaches by federal officials. We are reviewing and investigating the allegations. We are cooperating fully with officials. Let it be clear we take very seriously the high standards of conduct expected in our athletic department. We will not tolerate any deviation from those standards.