Home About Us What We Investigate Organized Crime Sports Bribery

Sports Bribery

Sports Bribery Program

Our Sport Bribery Program has several facets.

First, the FBI’s Sports Presentation Program helps college and professional sporting associations ensure the integrity of their sporting events. FBI agents educate the athletes about gambling, bribery, and drugs and explain how organized crime may attempt to corrupt them. Agents also remind players of the enormous influence they have on today’s youth as role models.

And several years ago, the program was expanded to include such issues as illegal performance-enhanching drugs, the dangers of social networking, general criminal acts engaged in by some athletes, and the consequences of hindering law enforcement investigations.

Second, we investigate violations of federal statutes concerning gambling and corruption in the sports industry, usually with the involvement of organized crime. Traditional organized crime groups continue to operate illegal gambling businesses and often engage in physical violence to collect debts and engage in extortionate loans.

One such investigation, called Operation Hook Shot, uncovered a sports bribery conspiracy to fix men’s basketball games at the University of San Diego (USD). The FBI had been looking into the illegal activities of an organized crime group operating in the San Diego area, especially marijuan selling and and its illegal online gambling business. Futher investigation revealed the scheme to fix games at USD.

Involved in this scheme were a former USD assistant basketball coach, as well as USD’s all-time point and assist leader. Both were convicted for their roles and sentenced to federal prison, along with six other co-conspirators.

The assistant coach, Thaddeus Brown—working with members of the organized crime group—recruited USD’s star basketball player Brandon Johnson during the 2009-2010 season. It’s believed that at least four games were fixed that season, with Johnson’s assistance. Because they knew the outcomes of the games, members of the criminal enterprise placed and won bets on the games...to the tune of $120,000. Both Brown and Johnson were paid for their participation.

More details on the case and on the Sports Presentation Program.