Sports Manager Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering Conspiracy
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced today that Eric Dewayne Leak, 41, of Raleigh, N.C. pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in connection with a bribery scheme involving college athletes.
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall, John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
“Leak used the ill-gotten gains of one criminal scheme to fund another, and in the process potentially exposed student-athletes, their respective schools, and their families to scandal and tangible harm. This serial fraudster will now have to face the consequences of his corrupt ways,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.
“Today’s guilty plea underlines the message that when you come to North Carolina as an athlete agent you had better follow the law,” said Secretary Marshall. “We have demonstrated again that we can and will enforce the law, which is largely designed to protect student-athletes from having their careers damaged. The investigators did exemplary work on this investigation, and I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its continued partnership in reaching today’s successful conclusion.”
“This is a prime example of what happens when you have compelling investigative work and a strong collaboration with other law enforcement and criminal justice agencies,” said Director Schurmeier. “For the NCSBI, it’s about integrity and fairness. It’s disappointing to know there are individuals who intentionally take advantage of our young people for personal gain and when that happens we want them brought to justice,” added Schurmeier.
According to plea documents and the bill of information, Leak was the owner of Hot Shots Sports Management, LLC (Hot Shots), a business in Raleigh, N.C., that provided, among other things, financial management services to professional athletes, including helping to transition student athletes from collegiate athletics into the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Leak admitted today in court that, from 2012 through 2015, he and others associated with Hot Shots executed a scheme to use the proceeds of previous criminal activity to promote new unlawful activity involving the payment of bribes to college athletes.
According to court records, from 2012 to 2014, Leak was the owner and executive director of Nature’s Reflections, LLC, (Nature’s Reflections) a mental health company with locations in Greensboro and Durham, N.C. Nature’s Reflections was enrolled as a Medicaid provider and received millions of dollars in direct reimbursements from Medicaid. From 2011 to 2013, Leak was involved in the payment of illegal kickbacks regarding the business of Nature’s Reflections. In March 2018, Leak pleaded guilty in federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina for his role in that scheme.
Court records show that Leak used money he made from the illegal scheme involving Nature Reflections’ to bribe college athletes, all of whom had received athletic scholarships and other benefits from their respective schools. Leak admitted in court today that, on multiple occasions from 2012 through 2015, he provided student-athletes, and on at least one occasion a student-athlete’s family member, with cash, clothes, loans, hotels rooms, entertainment, transportation, and other things of value, to influence those student-athletes to retain the services of Hot Shots. As Leak knew, the payment of bribes to student-athletes exposed the student-athletes’ schools to tangible economic harm, including, among other things, monetary fines, restrictions on athlete recruitment and the distribution of athletic scholarships, and the potential ineligibility of the schools to participate in various NCAA programs and tournaments.
Leak entered his guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S, Cayer. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $500,000 fine. Leak remains in custody. A sentencing date has not been set.
The Securities Division of the North Carolina Secretary of State, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Ryan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is in charge of the prosecution.