Joon H. Kim, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York office, Sept. 26 announced the arrest of 10 individuals including Indian American executive Munish Sood, four Division I NCAA men’s basketball coaches, and a senior executive at athletic apparel company Adidas.
The arrests were made in connection with two related fraud and corruption schemes, the news release said.
In the first scheme, as alleged in the three complaints unsealed Sept. 26, college basketball coaches took cash bribes from athlete advisers, among them Trenton, New Jersey resident Sood, chief executive of financial advisory company Princeton Capital, and including business managers and financial advisers, in exchange for using their influence over college players under their control to pressure and direct those players and their families to retain the services of the advisers paying the bribes, it said.
In the second scheme, James Gatto, a senior Adidas executive, allegedly funneled bribe payments to high school-aged players and their families to secure those players’ commitments to attend universities sponsored by the company rather than universities sponsored by rival athletic apparel companies, according to the U.S. Attorney and FBI joint release.
The defendants were all arrested Sept. 26 in various parts of the country. Sood, athlete adviser Christian Dawkins, and Jonathan Brad Augustine, who is affiliated with Gatto, were scheduled to appear in court the same day as their arrest.
Participants in both schemes allegedly took steps to conceal the illegal payments, including funneling them to athletes and/or their families indirectly through surrogates and entities controlled by the scheme participants and making or intending to make misrepresentations to the relevant universities regarding the involvement of student-athletes and coaches in the schemes, in violation of NCAA rules, the news release said.
According to the release, Sood, 45, and others allegedly bribed four men’s basketball coaches in exchange for the coaches’ agreement to direct players under their control, and the players’ families, to retain the advisers once the players entered the NBA.
Sood, 45, of Trenton, N.J., was integral to the alleged scheme involving several players and universities over the past year and a half, the news release said.
Additionally, Sood was among the advisers who brokered and facilitated the “corrupt payments” in exchange for a promise that the players also would retain his services upon turning professional in the scheme involving Adidas, according to the release.
“Month after month, the defendants allegedly exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes,” Kim said in a statement. “The defendants’ alleged criminal conduct not only sullied the spirit of amateur athletics, but showed contempt for the thousands of players and coaches who follow the rules, and play the game the right way.”
Added Sweeney, “(The) arrests should serve as a warning to those who conduct business this way in the world of college athletics.”
In total, Sood faces a dozen charges, including three counts of honest services fraud, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and one count each of bribery conspiracy, payments of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, Travel Act conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
If convicted, Sood could face up to 200 years behind bars.