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Bookie sentenced in Operation Hook Shot basketball bribery case

April 19, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • University of San Diego basketball player Brandon Johnson, here celebrating a victory, was caught up in a betting operation.
University of San Diego basketball player Brandon Johnson, here celebrating… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

A former bookie was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to bribe basketball players at the University of San Diego.

Richard Francis Garmo, 43, of El Cajon, was the eighth and last defendant to be sentenced in San Diego federal court after an investigation the FBI called Operation Hook Shot.

Garmo and his co-defendants allegedly induced Brandon Johnson, the school's all-time leading scorer, to take bribes so that gamblers could win bets in Las Vegas. Johnson has been sentenced to six months in custody and a year's probation.

Thaddeus Brown, a former assistant basketball coach at the University of San Diego, was sentenced to a year in federal prison for his role in the conspiracy.

Brown pleaded guilty to being the middleman between gamblers and Johnson. Prosecutors said he received $10,000 a game for three or four games during the 2009-10 season.

Steve Goria, who admitted making $120,000 by betting on a game between San Diego and Loyola Marymount in 2010, was sentenced in October to 30 months in prison.

Oddsmakers had favored San Diego to win but the Toreros lost after blowing a lead.

Garmo pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Along with the two-year prison sentence, he was also sentenced by District Judge Anthony Battaglia to three years of supervised probation after he is released.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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