Former San Diego star sentenced for role in game-fixing scheme

Posted March 01, 2013, at 8:45 p.m.

Former University of San Diego basketball star Brandon Johnson must spend six months in prison for his role in a game-fixing scheme judge said on Friday.

Johnson, the school’s all-time leading scorer, was one of 10 defendants to be indicted in April 2011 on charges of game-fixing, marijuana distribution and for allegedly having a role in an illegal sports gambling operation, according to U-T San Diego.

He pleaded guilty in November, but without a formal plea agreement.

Johnson insisted throughout the case that he never manipulated any games during his San Diego career. He did admit to trying to solicit another USD player to take part in fixing games. U-T San Diego identified that player as Ken Rancifer.

Prosecutors charged that Johnson profited $5,000 to $10,000 for altering “approximately four games” during the 2009-10 season, his senior year at USD.

“You disparaged the integrity of a university and disparaged the integrity of basketball,” U.S District Judge Anthony Battaglia said during Friday’s sentencing, adding that Johnson’s record-setting career is now tarnished. “You’ll keep the records, but like Pete Rose, Lance Armstrong and Roger Clemens you’ll have some explaining to do,” the judge added.

Before being sentence, the 26-year-old Johnson who has been living in Houston, told the judge he understood there would be consequences for what he had done.

“But I’m not a threat to society. I’m not a menace,” he said.

Johnson has been playing basketball for the Sugar Land Legends of the minor-league American Basketball League while coaching with a youth club, U-T San Diego said. According to court filings by his attorney, Oliver Cleary, Johnson “has lost contracts to play basketball in China, Romania, Poland, Finland, two in Germany and Venezuela” since his arrest.

“Because the player did not take the bait, the offense remains a cautionary tale more than a tragic consequence. As such, it ranks in the relatively low category of offenses,” Cleary said.

 

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