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Press Release

Illegal Sports Bookmaker Sentenced For Conspiring To Commit Sports Bribery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that Richard Francis Garmo was sentenced today in federal court in San Diego by the Honorable Anthony J. Battaglia to serve 24 months in custody, followed by three years supervised release, for his role in a criminal conspiracy. Garmo is the eighth and final defendant to be sentenced in the FBI investigation known as “Operation Hook Shot.”

In April 2011, Garmo and others were charged in an indictment for illegally enriching themselves from the operation of an illegal sports gambling business and the distribution of marijuana. The indictment also charged that by using proceeds from those crimes, the conspiracy influenced the outcome of basketball games at the University of San Diego (USD) during the 2009-2010 season, and then attempted to recruit players to do the same during the 2010-2011 season.

Garmo pleaded guilty to the indictment in August 2012. According to court documents and admissions made by Garmo and his co-defendants, the conspiracy bribed co-defendant Brandon Johnson to influence the outcome of basketball games during the 2009-2010 season while Johnson was a member of USD’s basketball team. Garmo and his co-conspirators then profited by placing bets at Las Vegas casinos on games Johnson influenced. Based on admissions by co-defendant Steve Goria, the conspiracy profited in excess of $120,000 from their sports bribery scheme. Johnson was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment in March 2013 for his role. Thaddeus Brown, a former USD assistant coach and the co-conspirator who recruited Johnson into the conspiracy, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in April 2013.

In addition to the 2009-2010 season, the conspiracy attempted to recruit current college basketball players at USD and elsewhere to influence the outcome of basketball games for bribe money during the 2010-2011 season as well. One particular recruiting attempt of a USD player in February 2011 took place at a Pacific Beach convenience store owned and operated by Garmo. At the meeting, the USD player was provided thousands of dollars cash as a bribe, which he later returned after deciding not to accept the bribe.

Judge Battaglia ordered the defendant to report on July 5, 2013 to begin serving his sentence.

DEFENDANT   Criminal Case No. 11CR1345-AJB
Richard Francis Garmo    

Count 1: Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 - Conspiracy


Federal Bureau of Investigation

Updated July 23, 2015