Former National Basketball Association referee Tim Donaghy, who served about 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to gambling and wire-fraud charges, was ordered by a federal judge to stop working for a sports betting-related radio show while on supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in Brooklyn, New York, told Donaghy at a hearing on July 30 to end his employment with the Allentown, Pennsylvania-based “Sports Connection Radio Show,” where he offers betting advice.
“Meet the Man who generated millions of Dollars Betting on Basketball, as seen on 60 Minutes and Documented by the NBA and FBI,” the sportsconnectionwins.com website says beneath a link to a Donaghy video.
Donaghy’s employer, Daniel T. Biancullo, the owner of the show, has a 2004 federal conviction stemming from his role in a sports-gambling operation, according to court records. As part of his probation, Donaghy is prohibited from associating with felons.
Biancullo said Donaghy didn’t know about his conviction and that the former referee’s probation officer never asked whether he was ever convicted of a crime.
“His probation officer, she was a fan of mine,” Biancullo said in a phone interview. “She gave me a list of dos and don’ts and we respected them.”
Donaghy was paid about $50,000 a year, Biancullo said.
Against the court’s advice, Donaghy, 45, represented himself at the hearing. His attorney in the case ended his involvement in July 2008.
Robert Nardoza, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on the judge’s order or the hearing.
Donaghy began his 13-year career as an NBA referee in 1994. He said he accepted thousands of dollars for passing along inside information about player injuries, league directives and personalities of fellow referees to two ex-classmates for use in making bets. He pleaded guilty in August 2007 to federal fraud and conspiracy charges.
Donaghy argued that other referees were engaged in wrongdoing. The league denied the claims, saying prosecutors and an NBA-commissioned investigation concluded that no other officials were involved.
Biancullo said he’d like to have Donaghy back at work whenever the court allows.
“I looked at Tim as an asset, a marketing tool,” he said. “He helped me make a lot of money for my clients.”
The case is U.S. v. Donaghy, 07-cr-00587, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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