Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Former Gamecock assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans was indicted and then arrested on Tuesday in connection with a fraud and corruption scheme that ensnared at least three other college assistant coaches.
Evans is currently is on staff at Oklahoma State.
While coaching in Columbia, however, the feds claim Evans agreed to take money from sports agents in return for pushing college players to sign with the agents when they went on to the NBA.
Evans is accused of accepting at least $22,000 in bribes while at South Carolina and later at Oklahoma State.
Evans is one of four assistant coaches arrested on federal charges. He was the assistant coach of the Gamecocks from 2012 to 2016. After four seasons in Columbia, he became an assistant at Oklahoma State in April of last year.
Federal prosecutors said there was big money at stake. They said the four coaches took advantage of the trust the players had in them and would pressure the students to make deals with the agents.
"They also knew that if, and when, those young players turned pro, that would mean big bucks for them - in professional fees and profit. As Dawkins put it during a meeting recorded by law enforcement, 'if we take care of everybody, we control everything, you can make millions off of one kid'," said Joon Kim, NY Southern District attorney.
According to federal documents, the investigation started to involve Evans at the end of 2015. Prosecutors state Christian Dawkins, a sports agent, contacted Evans in December of 2015, which he was still employed by the University of South Carolina. Dawkins allegedly told Evans he would be paid $25,000 in installments for his agreement to persuade some student-athletes to a particular agent.
On March 3, 2016, documents state Evans met with an undercover informant, Dawkins and Munish Sood, a financial advisor, at a restaurant near the University of South Carolina. During that meeting, the four men allegedly discussed a specific student-athlete Evans was coaching. That player's name has not been made public.
A few days later, Evans sent a text to the informant, confirming that he was "on board with everything."
Less than a month later, on April 4, Evans was hired as an assistant coach by Oklahoma State. When asked how the move would affect their discussion about the specific player, Evans reportedly said, "it's always gonna be business with them" and that he wanted to start making payments to the player and his family "to make sure they're solidified as far as thinking getting done on their end."
Later that month, on April 19, Evans met with the informant and Sood in Manhattan. According to documents, Evans said the player that had previously discussed would be a first round pick in the NBA draft the following year.
Conversations and meetings continued between the four men, and Evans allegedly received bribe payments throughout the 2016-2017 basketball season.
The federal documents state that in May of 2017, Evans arranged a meeting in South Carolina between Sood and a player. News 19 is not sure if that player was a Gamecock.
On August 10, Dawkins and Sood allegedly expressed their concerns over Evans, saying the bribe was "too risky." The federal documents state that Evans was being paid by other athlete advisors.
Oklahoma State released a statement on Tuesday, saying they have suspended Evans and are cooperating with federal officials.
As for the University of South Carolina, there's been no comment from head coach, Frank Martin. But the university released a statement about the indictment: "These are serious accusations that are not consistent with the University of South Carolina values. Behavior like this will not be tolerated in our programs. Of course, we will cooperate with investigators and we look forward to justice being done in this case. Because this is an ongoing criminal matter, we will have no further comment."
Three other assistant coaches across the country were also indicted: Auburn assistant Chuck Person, Southern California assistant Tony Bland, and Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson.
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