DETROIT Two Detroit-area businessmen and six former University of Toledo athletes were charged in a 20-count federal indictment Wednesday of conspiracy to commit sports bribery in an alleged point-shaving scheme related to football and basketball games, U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg announced. Six of the defendants also were charged with unlawful use of interstate facilities.
Charged in the indictment are: Ghazi "Gary" Manni, 52, of Sterling Heights, Mich.; Mitchell Edward Karam, 76, of Troy, Mich.; Adam Ryan Cuomo, 31, of Hagersville, Ontario, Canada; Keith Junior Triplett, 29, of Toledo; Anton Du ane Currie, 25, of Okemos, Mich.; Kashif Lashon Payne, 24, of Chester, Pa.; Harvey Lamont "Scooter" McDougle Jr., 24, of East Cleveland, Ohio, and Quinton James Broussard, 25, of Carrollton, Texas.
Berg was joined in the announcement by Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge of the Detroit division of the FBI.
The 30-page indictment charges that between December 2004 and December 2006 Manni and Karam paid money, and other things of value, to University of Toledo football and men's basketball players in order to influence, or attempt to influence, the final score of particular football and basketball games. Manni and Karam would then place bets on these games.
The indictment alleges that between November 2005 and December 2006, Manni and Karam wagered approximately $407,500 on University of Toledo basketball games.
Today's charges shine a light into the dark corner of illegal sports book-making and reveal the unfortunate consequences that the influence of money from betting can have on the integrity of both athletes and athletic contests, U.S. Attorney Berg said.
Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge of the Detroit division of the FBI, said the case "is an example of how organized crime can influence intercollegiate athletics.
"These charges are an important step in maintaining the integrity of intercollegiate athletics and a message to the athletes who decide to participate in such activities," Arena said.
UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, in a letter to the campus community on Wednesday, wrote:
Let me say from the beginning that we take this matter seriously, however we also consider it past history. We will continue to cooperate fully with all law enforcement agencies. Working together, it is my hope that this matter can be resolved quickly and justly for all parties involved.
The penalty for conspiracy to commit sports bribery and for unlawful use of interstate facilities is up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
Also Wednesday, Manni and Karam were charged in a separate indictment of 19 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit sports bribery. One other person, Richardo Alfredo Valdes, 43, a professional jockey from Ocala, Fla., also was charged in that indictment.
Federal authorities said Manni and Karam paid money to professional jockeys, including Valdes, in order to gather inside information and to influence or to attempt to influence final results of races at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.