Tim Donaghy may not have been the only NBA referee betting and potentially fixing the outcome of games. News has surfaced that Donaghy is prepared to implicate 20 refs in a growing NBA gambling crisis.
The report on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York said Donaghy will provide prosecutors as many as 20 names of other NBA officials and will detail their involvement in some form of gambling, believed to include betting in casinos.
The offenses may not include criminal activity, according to the report, but could violate NBA policy and lead to firings that would decimate the officiating staff. Twenty referees would make up about a third of the leagueâ€™s roster.
Meanwhile, the referees union maintained that Donaghy is the only NBA referee known to have engaged in gambling activities.
On August 15, Donaghy appeared in a Brooklyn federal court and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting wagering information through interstate commerce.
Donaghy told U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon that he used coded language to tip Battista about players’ physical condition and player/referee relations. In doing so, Donaghy disclosed classified information that he obtained as an NBA referee. Donaghy initially received $2,000 per correct pick, but his calls were so accurate that Battista increased his take to $5,000. In total, he received $30,000 to pass inside information to the bookies. Another high school friend of Donaghy’s, James Martino, acted as the middle man. Donaghy also admitted that he had a severe gambling addiction, and is currently on medication to address it.
Donaghy specifically admitted to passing information about two games during the 2006-07 season. Prosecutors also said that Donaghy bet on games himself. Battista and Martino are currently in federal custody and awaiting arraignment on conspiracy charges. Donaghy was fined $500,000, and will also have to pay at least $30,000 in restitution. ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson believes that Battista is one of the FBI’s prime targets, based on the large amounts of money he bet.
He was released on a $250,000 bond and is currently awaiting sentencing on November 9. He could face up to 25 years in prison. However, he will almost certainly get far less than that if he cooperates with the government. There’s no word yet on whether or not any NBA players were also involved.