Chuck Person, Lamont Evans among eight indicted in New York City

NEW YORK -- Four college basketball assistant coaches charged in a bribery scheme were among eight people indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in New York City.

The charges and accusations in three indictments largely mirrored the facts found in criminal complaints filed against the men when they were arrested in late September. An indictment, though a procedural step, is a document prosecutors rely upon at trial.

Prosecutors said the men were accused of using bribes to influence star athletes' choice of schools, shoe sponsors and agents. They face fraud and other charges that carry potential penalties upon conviction of decades in prison.

The assistant coaches charged were Chuck Person, 53, of Auburn; Emanuel "Book" Richardson, 44, of Arizona; Tony Bland, 37, of USC; and Lamont Evans, 40, of Oklahoma State.

All the defendants, except Evans, had been arrested on Sept. 26 and then arraigned on Oct. 10 and released on bond. Evans turned himself in on Sept. 27; he was arraigned Oct. 12 and released on bond.

Auburn officials suspended Person, the school's all-time leading scorer and Bruce Pearl's associate head coach, without pay on the day he was arrested. An Auburn spokesperson said Person is no longer employed at the university.

Bland is on administrative leave, and Evans and Richardson have been fired.

Also indicted Tuesday were former NBA referee Rashan Michel; James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas; Merl Code, another Adidas employee; and Christian Dawkins, a former NBA agent who recently was fired from ASM Sports.

The time to return an indictment was extended for a month for two defendants: Brad Augustine, the AAU program director who stepped down; and financial adviser Munish Sood.

Augustine was accused in a criminal complaint in September with brokering and facilitating corrupt payments in exchange for a promise from players to retain the services of Sood and a sports agent also charged in the case, while Sood was described as paying bribes to the coaches.

In late October, prosecutors said in court papers that discussions were continuing with lawyers for Sood and Augustine to bring about a possible disposition of the charges against them before indictment.

"Chuck Person did not commit a crime and we're confident he will be vindicated at trial after a jury hears all the evidence," attorney Theresa Trzaskoma said.

Attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said Bland was a hardworking and well-regarding assistant coach who was "being scapegoated for all the ills of college basketball -- all due to an alleged $13,000 payment."

"No multimillionaire head coach was charged or any multibillion dollar sneaker company after years of investigation. It's not fair and anyone who knows anything about college basketball knows this to be true," Lichtman added.

Craig Mordock, an attorney for Richardson, said, "This is really pushing the envelope of what constitutes a crime."

"An indictment is another step in the process," Mordock added. "But once again, Emanuel Richardson is not guilty."

Lawyers for Evans, Sood and Augustine were unable to be reached for comment.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.