After a year of courtroom drama, it looks like two former Adidas employees and a sports agent are headed to prison for major fraud!
Back in 2017, there were complaints about Adidas global marketing director of basketball Jim Gatto, former brand consultant Merl Code, and sports agent Christian Dawkins doing deals under the table when it came to high school athletes.
On Wednesday in front of a jury in New York federal court, a guilty verdict was handed down with each of the three men being found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Gatto was hit with an additional count of wire fraud for his involvement in what’s been described as a pay-to-play scheme.
Before being caught, the trio was said to have lead high school basketball players to Adidas-sponsored universities. This resulted in a sneaker deal once they went pro. However, in exchange for this, players were said to have obtained money from Adidas paid out by all three men.
Players like Brian “Tugs” Bowen, Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa, were paid between $20-$100 thousand to attend a specific school.
With the guilty verdict finally coming down, each of the defendants is expected to be sentenced next year with a possible two to four years in federal prison.
“We cooperated fully with the authorities during the course of the investigation and respect the jury’s verdict. We look forward to continuing to work with the NCAA and other stakeholders in a collaborative and constructive manner to improve the environment around college basketball,” Adidas said in a statement.
“We have strengthened our internal processes and controls and remain committed to ethical and fair business practices.”