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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Friday, December 6, 2013

Former AAU Coach Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud

Thomas Patric Boggs Admits To Defrauding Former College Basketball Star

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – A former AAU coach and mentor to a local college basketball star pled guilty earlier this week in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg to a wire fraud charges.

Thomas Patric Boggs, 60, of Brookneal, Va., pled guilty on Tuesday to one count of wire fraud. At sentencing, he faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

“Mr. Boggs exploited the trust placed in him by Travis Watson and turned it into a vehicle for fraud,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “This defendant stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a man who considered him a father figure and caused harm that extends well beyond the victim’s financial loss.”

Boggs admitted Tuesday in U.S. District Court that he met Travis Watson when Watson was a freshman in high school in Texas. During a trip to Lynchburg, Va. to play in an AAU tournament, Watson met the defendant, who welcomed Watson into his home. The two soon became close and through Boggs’ efforts, Watson was able to attend Oak Hill Academy where he continued to develop his basketball skills. Watson considered Boggs a mentor, coach and father figure.

Following high school, Watson attended and played basketball at the University of Virginia before playing professionally in Greece, Italy, Lithuania and other places in Europe.

The Government’s evidence established, and Boggs admitted, that during Watson’s time overseas, Boggs approached him and offered to invest a portion of Watson’s earnings to ensure financial security post-basketball. Boggs knew that due to the close personal nature of their relationship, Watson would trust him to invest his money wisely. Boggs instructed Watson how to wire money into a pair of accounts, and that Watson expected Boggs to invest that money for Watson’s benefit.

Between 2009 and 2011, Watson wired $357,965 to the accounts controlled by Boggs, who admitted that he used nearly all of the money sent by Watson to pay the personal expenses of Boggs and to pay family members. In addition, throughout the process, Boggs assured Watson that he was making sound investments and that he was going to make Watson a “millionaire.”

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Giorno and Laura Rottenborn prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated April 14, 2015