NJ financier adviser praised at NCAA scandal sentencing
NEW YORK (AP) — A New Jersey financial adviser was praised for his cooperation and a judge spared him from prison Thursday after he admitted his role in a college basketball scandal.
Munish Sood, 47, was fined $25,000 but was not sentenced to prison or forced to be supervised by probation authorities. U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood said she'll rule on restitution at a later point.
A prosecutor praised Sood for testifying at two trials that resulted in the convictions of several men charged in the bribery case, saying Sood provided information the government didn't previously know about as it built its case.
Prior to being sentenced, Sood apologized to "the people I hurt the last few years."
"I have no one to blame but myself," he added.
The prosecution, revealed with arrests in September 2017, exposed a pattern of bribes paid to college basketball players and their families by representatives of corporate shoemakers and financiers and managers looking to represent them when they reached the NBA.
Four assistant college coaches pleaded guilty in the case.
Prosecutors portrayed the schools as victims of the bribery schemes, saying reputations the schools relied on to attract top recruits were damaged by the scandal.
During testimony at a trial last October, Sood said he gave about $19,500 in 2017 to the father of top recruit Brian Bowen Jr. to get him to commit to the University of Louisville. After the payments were revealed, Bowen left Louisville. The school also fired coach Rick Pitino.
Last year, Sood was among defendants sued by Bowen in federal court in South Carolina.
The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, alleged that the bribery schemes denied players like Bowen the chance to grow their talents in college before they became professionals.
In July, the Indiana Pacers announced they had signed Bowen after he spent last year playing professionally in Australia for the Sydney Kings.