Thursday, April 4, 2013
A former University of San Diego assistant basketball coach was sentenced today to a year in federal prison for his role in a game-fixing scheme.
Thaddeus "T. J.'' Brown, who left USD in 2007, admitted introducing a member of the current USD team to bettors in 2011, as part of an unsuccessful attempt to fix games after star player Brandon Johnson left the school.
Brown's attorney urged U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia to give his client probation for his conspiracy plea. Prosecutors had sought a 30-month term for Brown, who will begin serving his sentence June 5.
Prosecutors said Johnson — who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced last month to six months in prison — fixed three to four games at Brown's direction.
Brown's attorney said his client never fixed games. The attorney said Brown was addicted to gambling and alcohol when he was recruited by co-defendants in the scheme.
Johnson admitted that he unsuccessfully solicited another USD basketball player to participate in the game-fixing scheme. Johnson has maintained that he never personally threw any games at his alma mater.
According to court records, Johnson — USD's all-time leading scorer in men's basketball — was a willing accomplice in the game-fixing scheme, making $5,000 to $10,000 to manipulate approximately four games.
Phone conversations secretly recorded by the FBI have Johnson saying he'd be willing to throw "every game.''
Following his arrest in April 2011, Johnson told agents that he knew the point spreads of games and admitted receiving several thousand dollars from bettors afterward, but denied throwing any games.
Ten people were indicted in the case in 2011.
The three primary defendants — Steve Goria, Richard Garmo and Paul Thweni — all admitted bribing Johnson to fix USD games during the 2009-10 season.