Kim said that the coaches “had the trust of the young players that they coached and recruited -- young men who looked up to them and believed that they had their best interests at heart.”
In one instance, Kim said, a coach touted the services of a financial adviser who had been indicted only a year before on securities fraud charges. He said that the information could have been found through a simple internet search.
“These coaches abused that trust placed in them by the players and their families,” Kim said.
Prosecutors said Sood and business manager Christian Dawkins worked with Gatto, Adidas affiliate Merl Code and Jonathan Brand Augistine, who runs an Adidas-sponsored amateur team, to funnel payments to high school basketball players’ families in exchange for their commitment to play at universities working with Gatto. The player’s family would then receive cash payments totaling $100,000 from third parties in exchange for the player’s commitment to sign with Adidas after his college career, according to the lawsuit.
Also charged in the scheme was Rashan Michel, a former NCAA official turned high-end clothing store owner whose clientele includes a number of professional athletes..
Kim said the group covered its tracks through fake invoices and financial entries. To them, he said, “bribing coaches was a business investment.”
In a statement released to ESPN, Adidas representatives confirmed Gatto worked for the company and said that it is working to learn more about the allegations.
"Today we became aware that federal investigators arrested an Adidas employee," the statement said. "We’re unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more."
Court documents released Tuesday showed that the charges stemmed from an investigation opened by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2015 on "the criminal influence of money on coaches and student-athletes who participate in intercollegiate basketball governed by the NCAA."
Officials continue to investigate.