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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 5 months ago

Winter Garden AAU coach part of national college basketball scandal

Jonathan Brad Augustine was named in a federal complaint that was part of a larger investigation that has rocked the college basketball landscape.
by: Steven Ryzewski and Gabby Baquero

The college basketball scandal that has rocked the sports world and brought down one of the game’s most famous faces, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, has a local tie.

Winter Garden resident Jonathan Brad Augustine, a well-known figure within the local AAU and teenage travel basketball scene and the former program director for 1 Family Hoops — an Orlando-based travel basketball organization — was among 10 people arrested and charged Sept. 26 as part of a large, wide-ranging federal investigation by the FBI and the USAO into corruption in college basketball.

A complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York names Augustine, along with four other defendants. 

The complaint alleges the defendants funneled money to would-be college basketball prospects and their families to secure their commitment to play for universities sponsored by Adidas — a company that designs and manufactures shoes. In return — in addition to playing for the universities sponsored by Adidas — the athletes would also retain the services of some of the defendants (in roles such as “financial adviser”) once the athletes turn professional. 

The defendants have been charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and one count of money-laundering conspiracy.

The inclusion of Augustine in the charges stems from his former role as the program director for the local AAU program, 1 Family Hoops. The program is sponsored by Adidas, which is believed to be the company in the complaint referred to as “Company-1”. 

The complaint alleges Augustine was responsible for getting the payments to the players and their families, with the implication being that he did so via a charity he ran. In particular, the complaint outlines a meeting that took place July 27 at a Las Vegas hotel. There, Augustine and Christian Dawkins — another defendant in the complaint — allegedly met with three other individuals.

The meeting also included an undercover agent, an individual who has since become a cooperating witness and an assistant from one of the college basketball teams. Video recording devices were concealed in the room beforehand.

In addition to the defendants outlining several elements of the scheme, at one point, the undercover agent handed Augustine an envelope containing $12,700 in cash, which Dawkins explained: “will take care of July, of August.”

On Sept. 28, 1 Family announced via Twitter that Augustine had stepped down as program director. 

In a separate tweet, the program refuted allegations that Nassir Little — a varsity basketball player at Orlando Christian Prep who plays for 1 Family and is rumored to be one of the players referred to within the complaint — was offered or asked for any money.

The statement went further, saying: “There is not one single player our program, nor family member of any player, that had any knowledge or discussion about payments being made in regards to making a college decision. We stand by this 100% and will allow the truth to come out as this process unfolds.”

Repeated attempts to reach the law firm representing Augustine were not successful by press time Tuesday.

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