Federal prosecutors dropped charges against a former AAU basketball program director last week because he kept bribes meant for a University of Miami recruit, according to an ESPN report citing unnamed sources close to the investigation.
An FBI complaint released in September alleged Jonathan Brad Augustine accepted $12,700 intended to steer a Louisville recruit but does not allege whether any payments were ever made toward the $150,00 believed to be needed to steer the Miami recruit.
The two unnamed players were members of the Florida-based 1 Family AAU basketball program run by Augustine, who was one of 10 men arrested in September as part of the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting. Augustine resigned from his position after he was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
During a July meeting to discuss the recruitment of the unnamed Class of 2019 Louisville recruit, Augustine accepted $12,700 cash in an envelope offered by an undercover FBI agent while being recorded in a Las Vegas hotel room and while an unnamed Louisville assistant coach was also present, according to the complaint.
Sports agent Christian Dawkins, also one of those arrested, said the money was to “take care of July, of August” and had previously told an undercover agent that Augustine would need $5,000 to be passed along to the unnamed Louisville recruit’s family by August, according to the complaint.
After the $12,700 payment was made to Augustine, an undercover FBI agent told the Louisville assistant coach the money would make his program happy because it meant the athlete would be going to Louisville.
The ESPN report does not mention what role that alleged exchange may have played in Augustine’s charges being dropped.
The complaint is less clear on whether the FBI believed any money changed hands to influence the Miami recruit.
The FBI recorded a call in August during which Gatto asked Adidas consultant Merl Code to wait until 2018 to make payments for the Miami recruit, according to the complaint.
The complaint then cites another recorded phone call during which Code allegedly told Augustine that he would do what was necessary “to make sure that we secure the kid” but that “budget-wise, everything was kind of strapped for ’17. … So ’18 puts us in a better place to have that conversation.”
The complaint also accused Gatto, Code, Dawkins and financial advisor Munish Sood of conspiring to funnel $100,000 to the family of Brian Bowen, who in May signed with Louisville. The men allegedly made one payment of $19,500 to Bowen’s father, according to the complaint.
Louisville suspended Bowen in September and he has since transferred to the University of South Carolina, which is seeking NCAA approval to play him this season.
Augustine and Sood, who was allegedly starting a business with Dawkins, are the only two among those arrested in September not to be indicted. Sood recently was granted a 30-day extension, which could signal he is working on a plea deal. The extension ends March 10.
Attorneys for Gatto, Dawkins and Code have requested their clients’ cases be dismissed and have requested their phone records and wiretaps of their phones be thrown out as evidence.
Citing unnamed sources, ESPN reported evidence in the case, including records seized from NBA agent Andy Miller in September, could lead to NCAA violations for as many as three dozen Division I programs.