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Basketball star, assistant coach indicted in point-fixing scheme at University of San Diego, UC Riverside [Updated]

April 11, 2011 | 11:55 am

Brandon Johnson Ten people have been named as part of an attempted conspiracy to bribe players to fix basketball games at the University of San Diego and UC Riverside, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Monday in San Diego.

Among the 10 are former University of San Diego Assistant Coach Thaddeus Brown, 32, and former players Brandon Dowdy, 22, and Brandon Johnson, 24. Johnson is the school’s all-time scorer and assist maker. He played briefly for the Dakota Wizards in an NBA instructional league.

The allegedly fixed games occurred in 2010 and 2011, prosecutors said. U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy declined to say how many games prosecutors believe were fixed or whether the outcomes were influenced by the alleged bribes to players.

The scheme involved gamblers fixing games so that they could make a profit by betting on those games in Las Vegas, Duffy said.

The investigation, dubbed “Hook Shot,” began a year ago as an outgrowth of a drug investigation, FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter said, adding that the gamblers were also indicted on charges of distributing marijuana.

Johnson was arrested in Houston on Friday and will be arraigned there. Other defendants were arrested in San Diego and will be arraigned in federal court on Tuesday.

[Updated, 1:20 p.m.: Johnson allegedly received a bribe to influence a game in February 2010 and approached a player with a bribe offer in January 2011, after he had left the team, according to the indictment.

Brown was an assistant coach in 2006-07 and had left the university before the alleged bribe attempts mentioned in the indictment. Dowdy played at the University of San Diego in the 2006-07 season and then transferred to UC Riverside where he played from 2008-10.

Brown and Dowdy solicited a player to influence a game at UC Riverside in February 2011, according to the indictment.

Slotter said the indictments were not a reflection of the University of San Diego, which he referred to as "an outstanding academic institution."

Most of the arrests were made without incident. Steve Warda Goria, 32, one of three alleged masterminds of the bribery and drug distribution scheme, surrendered at his home in Chula Vista after a two-hour standoff with SWAT squad members.]

[Updated: 4:45p.m.: Officials at both universities issued statements saying that they had just learned of the allegations Monday as the indictment was being unsealed. Both stressed the seriousness of the allegations and promised to cooperate fully with federal authorities.]


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: San Diego basketball player Brandon Johnson, top, celebrates a December 2006 win in Berkeley. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press