Jim Gatto, the former head of basketball marketing at Adidas, was sentenced to nine months in federal prison following allegations that he committed wire fraud to lure amateur basketball players to Adidas-sponsored programs at numerous universities. Also sentenced were co-defendants, Merl Code and Christian Dawkins, who both must serve six months in federal prison for their participation in the scheme.
The conviction took place in October after it was found that Gatto, Code, and Dawkins, sent payments to amateur basketball players and their families to push them to enroll in Adidas-sponsored programs around the country, including at the University of Kansas, University of Miami, and University of Louisville. Code was a former Adidas consultant, while Dawkins was an aspiring sports agent. In driving amateur players to these universities, it was alleged that the defendants hoped to one day secure their services upon entry into the NBA.
During the trial, the families of each of the defendants were present in the courtroom as the defense presented Gatto, Code, and Dawkins as “family men”.
However, this case represents one of many involved in the corruption of college sports, and prosecutors expressed their hope that a suitable conviction would deter other individuals from participating in similar fraudulent activities.
In addition to their six-month sentences, Code and Dawkins must also pay a fee of over $28K each for the financial strains of the universities affected by their actions. Meanwhile, the amount of Gatto’s restitution fee will be determined in April of 2019. Gatto will be serving his nine-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Facility in Sheridan, Oregon.
With college related scandals on the rise, it is likely that authorities will continue to pursue cases of this nature aggressively in the hopes that consequent convictions will reduce fraudulent activities in this space. For now, it is important for individuals with knowledge of similar wrongdoing to come forward with any and all information so that these charges can come to fruition and the integrity of our universities can be maintained.
To learn more about cases like this or to access resources on numerous forms of fraud, check out the Newman & Shapiro Whistleblower Help Center and blog!