COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Ex-University of South Carolina assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday morning to taking approximately $22,000 in bribes from sports agents and financial advisors in exchange for steering players to them for business once they entered the NBA.
While with the Gamecocks from 2012 - 2016, Evans was a driving force in recruiting P.J. Dozier and Sindarius Thornwell. After four seasons in Columbia, he left USC to become an assistant at Oklahoma State following the 2015-16 season.
“Lamont Evans, formerly a men’s basketball coach at South Carolina and Oklahoma State, abused his position as a mentor and coach for personal gain,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.” Evans took bribes from unscrupulous agents and financial advisers to steer his players to those agents and advisers. A scheme Evans apparently thought was a slam-dunk actually proved to be a flagrant foul.”
Christian Dawkins, a sports agent, allegedly paid at least $22,000 in bribes to Evans in exchange for his agreement to exert his influence over certain student-athletes that he coached, first at USC and then at Oklahoma State, to retain Munish Sood, an investment banker, and a cooperating government witness for business advisory and investment management services.
In one meeting recorded during the investigation, Evans explained how “every guy I recruit and get is my personal kid,” and that “the parents believe in me and what I do…that’s why I say if I need X, so if I do take X for that, it’s going to generate [business] toward you guys,” referring to the bribers.
Evans also said in a call recorded during the investigation how this arrangement was “generating more wealth” for the scheme participants, because they were “able to scratch my back, scratch yours, and help each other with different things and . . . at the same time get compensated and then . . . just go from there.”
In return for the cash bribes he received, Evans facilitated a meeting between the bribe payers and a player at OSU, and a meeting between the bribe payers and a relative of a different player attending South Carolina, for the purpose of pressuring those players to retain the financial services of the bribe payers, prosecutors said.
In addition, Emanuel Richardson, a/k/a “Book,” a former men’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona, and Anthony Bland, a/k/a “Tony,” a former men’s basketball coach at the University of Southern California, both previously pled guilty, pursuant to plea agreements with the Government, in connection with this scheme.
Munish Sood, a financial adviser, also previously pled guilty, pursuant to a cooperation agreement with the Government, in connection with this scheme.
As a condition of his plea, Evans agreed to forfeit $22,000. He faces up to five years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 10, 2019, before Judge Ramos.