10 Charged In USD Basketball Point-Fixing Scheme
Two former University of San Diego basketball players and a former assistant coach were among 10 indicted today on sports bribery and gambling charges. Former USD star player Brandon Johnson, the school’s all-time points leader, was arrested and charged with receiving and soliciting bribes to fix games.
The announcement by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office came as the result of an investigation into a local marijuana-smuggling ring. Three main defendants, Steve Goria, Paul Thweni and Richard Garmo from San Diego were the original targets of the FBI’s investigation.
The three suspects were allegedly in charge of using money acquired from illegal sports betting and marijuana distribution to bribe NCAA players. The fixed games were then bet on at Las Vegas casinos.
U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Duffy described the drug trafficking and sports betting charges as substantial, yet could not disclose how much money was involved.
Thaddeus Brown, a former assistant coach at USD, and Brandon Lamar Dowdy, another former player, have also been indicted for attempting to fix games at the UC-Riverside in February 2011. Neither Brown nor Dowdy were associated with USD at the time the alleged crimes took place.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter said “college basketball is a passion, generates a great deal of interest and must maintain its fairness.” Slotter added that, as a multibillion-dollar business, the sporting industry must maintain its credibility and must not be tarnished by a "small number of greedy individuals."
Slotter said it is important to note the charges are not being made against the University of San Diego or UC-Riverside, but against a few individuals who chose to do the wrong thing.
Eight arrests have been made in San Diego. A two-hour standoff with SWAT members Monday resulted in the arrest of Chula Vista resident Steve Goria in Serra Mesa. One suspect remains at large.
Brandon Johnson was arrested this weekend in Houston and is being charged for his crimes.