NBA referee Tim Donaghy plead guilty Wednesday to two felony charges of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce. He was released on $250,000 bond from federal court in Brooklyn. He will be sentenced on November 9th and could face up to 25 years in prison.
His betting on NBA games began in 2003, and it was only in December when he started providing inside information when one of his co-conspirators, James Battista, found out about Donaghy’s gambling. Battista, along with another co-conspirator, Thomas Martino, would get the picks from Donaghy and make cash payments to him. Court documents did not identify which games (although there were approximately four different occasions where Donaghy either telephoned or met with Battista and Martino). A source told the Associated Press that there was one payment made to Donaghy on December 14th after a successful tip on the end result of the Celtics-76ers game on December 13th. The Celtics were favored by 4 points and eventually defeated the 76ers, 101-81.
Donaghy is currently under psychiatric care for his gambling problem. He is also taking antidepressant and anxiety medication. He provided some insight into his betting:
“I would use a telephone or cellphone to make calls around the country to one of the individuals in order to communicate the picks,” Donaghy said. “(In) many of these calls we used a coded language, and I concealed this conduct from my employer.”
“I was in a unique position to predict the outcome of NBA games. As a referee, I was given access to master referee schedules that included the identities of officiating crews for particular games.”
As a 13 year veteran, he knew the interaction between officials and players, and the way that the officials called games. He knew the physical condition of players, which would aid him in making his picks.
“Beginning in December 2006 until about April 2007, I agreed with other individuals to use this non-public information in order to pick NBA teams that I predicted would win particular games and also cover the point spreads set by professional bookmakers,” he said. “As part of our agreement, others would, in turn, use my picks in order to place bets with bookmakers on the teams I had selected.”
Freakin’ idiot. I don’t even want to start on what I think of this guy for costing the Phoenix Suns the series against San Antonio…