Evans, a Former University of South Carolina and Oklahoma State University Men’s Basketball Coach, Pleads Guilty to Accepting Cash Bribes in Return for Steering College Players on His Teams to Corrupt Financial Advisers
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that LAMONT EVANS, a former men’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina (“South Carolina”) and later at Oklahoma State University (“OSU”), pled guilty in Manhattan federal court today to taking approximately $22,000 in cash bribes from athlete advisers in exchange for using his influence over South Carolina and OSU basketball players to retain the services of the advisers paying the bribes. RICHARDSON pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Lamont Evans, formerly a men’s basketball coach at South Carolina and Oklahoma State, abused his position as a mentor and coach for personal gain. Evans took bribes from unscrupulous agents and financial advisers to steer his players to those agents and advisers. A scheme Evans apparently thought was a slam-dunk actually proved to be a flagrant foul.”
According to the Complaint, the Indictment, statements made in court, and publicly available documents:
EVANS was a men’s basketball coach at South Carolina until on or about April 2016, and then at OSU until shortly after his arrest. Beginning in 2016, and continuing into September 2017, when EVANS was arrested, EVANS received approximately $22,000 in cash bribes from current and aspiring financial advisers and/or managers for professional athletes in exchange for EVANS’s agreement to exert his influence over certain student-athletes EVANS coached at South Carolina and OSU to retain the services of the bribe payers once those players entered the National Basketball Association (“NBA”).
In one meeting recorded during the investigation, Evans explained how “every guy I recruit and get is my personal kid,” and that “the parents believe in me and what I do … that’s why I say, if I need X, so if I do take X for that, it’s going to generate [business] toward you guys,” referring to the bribers. Evans also stated in a call recorded during the investigation how this arrangement was “generating more wealth” for the scheme participants, because they were “able to scratch my back, scratch yours, and help each other with different things and . . . at the same time get compensated and then . . . just go from there.” In return for the cash bribes EVANS received, EVANS facilitated a meeting between the bribe payers and a player at OSU, and a meeting between the bribe payers and a relative of a different player attending South Carolina, for the purpose of pressuring those players to retain the financial services of the bribe payers.
In addition to today’s plea, Emanuel Richardson, a/k/a “Book,” a former men’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona, and Anthony Bland, a/k/a “Tony,” a former men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern California, both previously pled guilty, pursuant to plea agreements with the Government, in connection with this scheme. Munish Sood, a financial adviser, also previously pled guilty, pursuant to a cooperation agreement with the Government, in connection with this scheme.
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EVANS, 41, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. As a condition of his plea, EVANS agreed to forfeit $22,000. The charge carries a maximum term of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. Sentencing is scheduled for May 10, 2019, before Judge Ramos.
Mr. Berman praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Boone, Noah Solowiejczyk, and Eli J. Mark are in charge of the prosecution.