Guilty Plea in USD Sports Betting Scandal

As part of the plea agreement, Richard Thweni admitted to operating a sports book between January 2009 and April 2011

By R. Stickney
|  Friday, May 25, 2012  |  Updated 9:38 AM PDT
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Former USD Athletes, Coach Tied to Bribery Sting

10 defendants allegedly conspired to bribe basketball players to alter the outcome of games so the defendants could profit by betting on games at Las Vegas casinos, according to the indictment.

Suspect in Bribery Sting Has Criminal Record

FBI agents used extreme caution when they arrested him.
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An El Cajon man has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he was part of a betting ring involving the University of San Diego's basketball team.

Richard Thweni, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday in San Diego to conspiracy to commit sports bribery, conduct an illegal gambling business and distribute marijuana.

Thweni faces up to five years in prison at sentencing in August.

As part of the plea agreement, Thweni admitted to operating a sports book between January 2009 and April 2011, and trying to collect an outstanding gambling debt.

The indicment lists 10 defendants including former USD assistant coach Thaddeus Brown, 32, and two former players including Brandon Johnson, 24, the school's leader in several key categories and Brandon Dowdy, 22, who played during the 2006-2007 season.

Steven Goria, 32, Richard Garmo, 32, David Gates, 34, Lilian Goria, 32, and Jake Salter, 23, were also named in the indictment. Read the full indictment here.

Prosecutors said Johnson was recruited to throw games as part of the scheme.

Operation “Hook Shot” was a one-year investigation that at first focused on marijuana but soon expanded once the allegations of bribery and sports betting were uncovered. 

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