He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Reyes, Jr. The charges in the complaint against Battista and Martino are merely allegations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Battista and Martino each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The NBA employs approximately 60 referees who officiate pre-season, regular season, and playoff games between NBA teams. Each game has an officiating crew of three referees. NBA referees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement and to rules of conduct set by the NBA. Those rules of conduct require that NBA referees conduct themselves according to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and professionalism, as well as refrain from any conduct that may impair the faithful and thorough discharge of their duties.
Among other things, NBA referees are generally prohibited from having any involvement in sports betting or bookmaking. In particular, NBA referees are prohibited from placing bets on NBA games and from providing information to others for the purpose of assisting them to place bets. These schedules are not disclosed to the public or to NBA teams. NBA referees are prohibited from disclosing upcoming referee assignments and other proprietary NBA information. During the NBA season, professional bookmakers routinely predict the team favored to win each NBA game and set a point spread by which the favorite is expected to win.
If a bettor selects the team that is not favored, the better wins if that team wins the game or loses by a lesser number of points than the predicted point spread. Based on the plea proceedings and the court filings, for the past 13 years, including the NBA season, Timothy Donaghy was employed as an NBA referee.
Austin Wang Feb 10, Game Start: AM. Raptors vs. Roberto Arguello Feb 10, Hawks vs. Joe Dellera Feb 10, Pelicans vs. Matthew Trebby Feb 10, Bucks vs. Article Highlights. Wizards, Pacers vs. Nets, More. NBA Celtics vs. Betting Read the article. Point Spread. Point Spread The number of points a team is expected to win or lose by.
Where can I bet on the NBA? Proposition wagers let bettors speculate on the outcome of individual player stats -- like points, rebounds and assists -- rather than a full team or game. How can I win betting on the NBA? What is a point spread in NBA Odds betting? What is a total bet in an NBA game? How do Moneylines work in NBA odds? When you bet a moneyline , you are simply betting on which team will win the game. The odds will be adjusted to the likelihood of that happening.
You would win that bet if the Warriors win the game, no matter by how much. PRO Systems.
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We have tools and resources that can help you use sports data. Find out more. We present them here for purely educational purposes. Our reasoning for presenting offensive logos. Logos were compiled by the amazing SportsLogos. All rights reserved. Historical preseason odds courtesy sportsoddshistory. More NBA Pages. Full Site Menu Return to Top. In the News : J. Harden , K. Durant , L. James , B. Beal , D. Rose , P. All-Time Greats : L. Bird , D.
Robinson , B. Pettit , K. Abdul-Jabbar , M. He started small. In that first March, he bet on only two or three games. The next season, though, the volume rose sharply -- he made between 30 and 40 wagers on games he worked. Same with the season after that and the season after that. He did well. By Donaghy's own admission in his memoir, so much cash started rolling in that he had problems knowing physically where to stash it so his wife wouldn't start asking questions.
Today, Kim Donaghy lives in Sarasota, Florida, where she and her then-husband and four daughters moved in Kim filed for divorce in late , a few months after the scandal became public. When I visited her in Sarasota not long ago, at the office where she works, she made it clear the divorce was a long time coming.
He was always locked in a room, on the phone. In Sarasota, Kim Donaghy printed out for me the first 98 pages of her unfinished and unpublished memoir, The Ref's Wife. In it, she writes of the paradox of being both "lonely for him" and "truly afraid of him. With her thumbs and forefingers, she made an "O" the diameter of an orange. She struggled to recall exactly when, but she told me she probably started finding the cash in , during the season.
At the time, she told herself the money was from golf-course betting. But she would keep finding such rolls in his pockets as the years went on. When I asked, she said she never counted the money, never confronted him about its existence. A high roller named Mike Rinnier, who'd made his fortune in Delaware County supermarkets, decided to bankroll a small sports-betting syndicate in the s.
He staffed it with working-class Delco kids ambitious to earn. Battista, who'd drifted as a bartender, restaurant manager and small-time hustler after high school, was in his early 20s when, according to Gaming the Game , a book about the Donaghy scandal by former Philly police detective Sean Patrick Griffin, Rinnier recruited him to join the group.
By chance, over the years its members had all acquired animal nicknames: Tiger, Rooster, Rhino, Seal, Sheep. And so their syndicate came to be known by some as the Animals. In the early s, the sports-betting world was undergoing its own equivalent of a dot-com boom. Black-market street bookies from all over the U. It was situated in a house a block off the beach.
And it was there, in fall -- between beers under palms at the Mambo Beach tiki bar, between rounds of golf and late-night poker sessions at the Holiday Beach hotel's casino -- that the Animals began to cash in on one brilliant discovery. Rhino Ruggieri was booking bets made by an acquaintance from back home, a guy he knew from the golf course named Jack Concannon. Back in Philly, Ruggieri had noticed that Concannon's bet sizes were an order of magnitude higher on certain NBA games.
And those bets won -- won like Concannon had never won before. And normally this guy lost. But suddenly this recreational dumb-money insurance salesman was putting five dimes each on select NBA games and beating the bookies? There had to be a pattern. They'd studied his wagers. It hadn't taken long to deduce. Because he was a sometime member of the same golfing circle back home, Ruggieri knew that Concannon and NBA ref Tim Donaghy were friends. They checked the games. Who were the referees?
Sure enough, there he was. One of the three was always him. Fing Donaghy. Holy s! Donaghy and Concannon are betting on Donaghy's games -- and making a goddamn killing. So what do you do when you stumble upon a possible criminal conspiracy in progress? Large sums but, if handled deftly, not large enough to alert the broader market that something screwy might be going on.
They had possibly just stumbled on the ultimate edge. They now had one job: Do not lose the edge by letting the information leak. Whether Donaghy was using his whistle to fix games was beside the point. When Donaghy reffed and Concannon bet, the side he bet was covering the spread between 60 and 70 percent of the time.
The Animals went so far as to study the box scores after each of Donaghy's outings. That was obvious. Said another: "Did I assume he was fixing the games? Yeah, I did. But I didn't give a s, because it was great information. From to , we didn't miss a game. Any game that he reffed we had a wager on.
Battista had since decided to set up shop on his own as a bet broker. Whatever his issue was, Battista said he couldn't talk about it over the phone. A decade later, in the break room of the hair salon he worked in, Martino told me how it had gone: Martino had already known that their mutual buddy Tim Donaghy had been betting on his own NBA games with Concannon, and winning those bets. Battista, after discovering this, had been following those bets for the better part of the past four years.
But now, when Battista arrived at Martino's house, he dropped the bomb. The big problem, Battista said, was that the betting markets appeared to be getting wise to the emergence of an astonishingly accurate NBA handicapper. Because this edge, this treasure, was in danger of evaporating, Battista had decided that he needed to assume direct control over the referee. Martino was not a gambler, had hardly ever placed a bet in his life.
But he'd remained close friends after high school with both Donaghy and Battista, who, in turn, were never that close with each other. Martino, in that way, was about to become the unlikely bridge upon which the conspiracy would travel. To Martino, Battista seemed desperate, even frightened. And it was there, in the otherwise vacant dining area, seated around a table, that Battista and Donaghy, with Martino witnessing, consummated their deal.
Much later on he would come to call this meeting "the marriage. Accounts of the meeting differ. According to statements Donaghy made to federal law enforcement, Battista's deal was effectively an act of extortion. You don't want anyone "from New York" coming to your house, Battista told him. According to Battista, though, it was Donaghy who reached out, asking for a meeting.
Both Battista and Martino have said that there were no threats, that everyone was nervous but the situation seemed copacetic, and that what sold Donaghy on the deal was Battista saying to him: We know you're giving the games to Jack Concannon. And then, twisting the knife, Battista told him how much Concannon was winning.
Donaghy rose from the table. He had to use the bathroom, he said, and motioned for Martino to please come along. It got out to Battista that I'm giving games to Jack! But no. You know what he says? He goes: 'Do you believe it? Back at the table, Martino and Donaghy told Battista that they needed to drive to a nearby gas station.
They came out of the station bearing a packet of rolling papers, and right there inside the car, under the fluorescent gas station lights, in the rental-return sprawl adjacent to the Philadelphia International Airport runway, Martino rolled a joint. They passed it back and forth -- Battista, who'd snorted some coke earlier, demurred -- and as the car filled with smoke, they made, Martino told me, "a pact.
Because that's how you get in trouble. The Celtics played the 76ers the night after the Marriott meeting. Donaghy worked the game. It was his first pick for Battista. The Celtics, favored by 2. We had a big bet on every fing game. Making bets at the highest levels of sports gambling is akin to the trading of any financial instrument. There's a defined trading session.
It opens in the morning and closes right before tip-off. It's possible, in effect, to buy and sell bets, to go long or go short, to hedge. The best movers spend years compiling vast networks of clients and "outs," or counterparties, with whom the movers can trade. Battista had such a network. It's possible, through Don Best Sports, a betting information service, to pull the line-movement data for individual NBA games going back years. It's like looking at a stock chart.
The data chronicle price fluctuations. If the spread widens during the trading session, then you know that demand among gamblers for betting on the favorite has intensified. And indeed, the chart for the Boston-Philly game on Dec. Huge bets on Boston in the middle of the trading session, between a. In the NBA markets, betting experts say, any move of 1. The night after the Boston victory, according to all parties, the conspirators met once more, at Martino's house in the Philly suburb of Boothwyn.
From here on out, Battista said, he and Donaghy would never communicate directly. Instead, Martino would be in the middle. They would use, per Martino's statement to the FBI, a code. Martino had two brothers. One, Johnny, lived in Jersey. The other, Chuck, lived in Delco. According to Martino, if Donaghy mentioned out-of-state Johnny's name, the pick was for the visiting team.
If Donaghy talked about Chuck, bet the home side. Not exactly the Enigma cipher but better than yapping about specific teams and risking someone overhearing. Ideally, Donaghy should make his pick as early as possible, preferably the night before his games, or at least the morning of. That way, Battista could begin to prepare the markets, to manipulate the prices in their favor.
He would start before dawn with the enormously liquid Asian betting markets, an amorphous group of black- and gray-market internet sportsbooks based in places like Manila and Kuala Lumpur. Normally this meant making a few "head fake" bets. If you think the Celtics are the side that's likely to cover, then you go to market as early in the trading session as possible and put some money on Philly. Do it right and you can drive down the price of Boston.
Then later in the day, with the price right, you gobble up all the Boston you can. According to Martino and Battista, after such wagering was complete, Battista, via Martino, would then inform Donaghy of the spread he needed to cover. And so it began From Philadelphia, Donaghy hopping to a Nets home game, then 1, miles west to Denver, then over to Seattle, then transcontinental to Atlanta, then southwest to Houston, then back east to DC -- Donaghy zigzagging across the country, in and out of NBA arenas, making his picks to Martino over those cheap bodega burner phones, but not always, because sometimes they'd forget and use their own regular phones, because who cared?
Battista bowing his head to his desk and snorting a line of coke to stay alert, to stay awake. Martino late at night on the phone with Donaghy, the pair having developed a nightly before-bed ritual: If Donaghy's pick was a winner, if the spread had been covered, Martino calling the ref and whispering "Good boy," and Donaghy echoing "Good boy" and then hanging up Donaghy calling two fouls 50 seconds apart against the 76ers' leading scorer, Andre Iguodala, in the third quarter against Boston , with the score's margin right on the spread.
Iguodala heading to the bench; Boston covering the spread Donaghy in Seattle, the Sonics hosting the Mavericks, calling 11 straight fouls against Seattle as well as the last foul of the night, with 23 seconds to go.
Dallas making both free throws, increasing its lead to eight. The closing line: Dallas by Battista usually watched these games at home, but sometimes not. Watching would give him agita, he's said, at which point he'd have to turn off the TV: "I remember being like, 'Oh s, he's getting out of hand. I was like, 'If anyone's watching this, we've got a problem.
Donaghy in Dallas on Jan. Favored by 12, Dallas covering Donaghy in Miami calling 12 fouls against visiting Charlotte, two against the Heat. The Heat covering Donaghy in Toronto calling four fouls against the visiting Nets' top scorer, Vince Carter, forcing him to the bench, the last one called by Donaghy when the ref was on the opposite side of the floor with the Raptors leading by three.
Toronto, favored by Money now pouring into games Donaghy is refereeing, the lines during trading sessions swinging violently, like stocks beset by takeover rumors-widening and narrowing by 1. Battista popping pills, Vicodin and OxyContin, sometimes falling asleep at the dinner table at restaurants, sometimes vomiting blood. Battista wired and staying up all night and obsessively, blank-mindedly playing online blackjack and poker and even putting bets down on sports for which he had no special insight or inside information, and losing, losing, losing And then Donaghy whistling fouls on the visiting Heat 12 times in Madison Square Garden compared to four against the Knicks; the Knicks covering Martino flying to Toronto to pay Donaghy and to party, ordering prostitutes from a website Donaghy on March 14 in Indianapolis calling four straight fouls in the fourth against the underdog Pacers when they were losing by six to the visiting Wizards.
Favored by 6, the visiting Wizards covering Battista on March 16 strung out and sleepless at Martino's house and surrounded suddenly by almost his entire immediate family. An intervention Battista two days later wearing a bathrobe in rehab. Phil Scala had been investigating organized crime in New York City for almost 30 years when his squad received the tip. Based in an anonymous office building in Kew Gardens, Queens, Scala and his agents had spent years assembling a network of informants inside the gang.
And now, Scala would later tell me, one of the squad's snitches had divulged this new tip, too delicious to be ignored. An NBA referee, according to the informant, was "in the pocket" of some people in the sports-gambling underworld. The informant didn't know any names, and the people with the ref in their pocket did not appear to be made members of the Gambino crime family.
But the crucial betting information -- which sides of which games the ref favored -- had been seeping into the black-market gambling business. In particular, a crew of Gambino thugs in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn had figured out the formula and was supposedly, from what this informant had heard, winning millions on this ref's games.
Illegal sports gambling was not Scala's focus. But stomping out a Mafia profit center was. Scala reached the FBI's mandatory retirement age in and is now a private detective based on Long Island. But he has kept the investigative notes he took on his FBI cases, including the Donaghy case. Not long ago, he brought them out, looked at them and told me about them over the phone. When I asked if I could see the notes myself, he laughed.
Scala's squad went to work. Phone records of gamblers said to have connections with the Gambino crime family were obtained and analyzed, phone numbers traced back to names. As Scala told me, "If you can envision a spiderweb -- it might not be directly, but one or two or three spheres out, you find a name.
And then one afternoon the case agent came into my office. He said, 'We found the guy. We found the referee. They knew all about what he'd done, they told him; he was looking at 20 years. Better to cooperate. Lawyer , Battista replied. Just before entering rehab, according to Martino and law enforcement documents, Battista had handed over the reins of the operation to Rhino Ruggieri.
Ruggieri was to play the same role Battista had -- mover, fund manager. Ruggieri did not respond to requests for comment. But soon enough, Martino says, Rhino learned about the nature of Battista's deal with Donaghy. He and the other Animals who'd been following the bets were not happy. By now the spreads were moving violently. Word about Donaghy had permeated the market, followers following followers.
Battista "was just ruining something that was totally quiet, that nobody knew about," said one of the Animals. It was like: Why would you do that? In any case, Ruggieri before long decided to shut the whole thing down. The final game, Martino remembers, was a loss. The effort to hide it was in vain. A grand jury in the case had been convened as early as February, according to FBI documents, and on May 30, Tommy Martino testified before it.
Hours later, he called up Donaghy to tell him. In his memoir, Donaghy writes that he was standing on the first tee at his home golf club in Sarasota with a driver in his hands when he took the call from Martino. His body turned numb. He thought he was having a heart attack. The agents informed Stern that it had come to their attention that one of their veteran refs, Tim Donaghy, had been betting on his own games and giving inside information to a gambling ring, for a fee.
The Feds made no mention of game-fixing. The commissioner promised the league's full cooperation. Today, Scala considers that meeting a mistake. I would not have gone to brief Stern," Scala told me. Through the NBA, Stern declined an interview request for this story.
In Donaghy's many conversations with the Feds through these weeks, he had begun pointing fingers and making allegations about other referees -- other refs who may have been corrupt. So the FBI had worked out a plan.
Namely, they were going to wire up Donaghy so he could get other allegedly corrupted NBA referees to incriminate themselves. Things may have been different. That's the bottom line. Scala, at the time, was livid. He even contacted Murray Weiss, the Post reporter who wrote the story, to uncover the source of the leak. But Weiss, a veteran newsman, protected his source. It came from above,' " Scala recalls. Scala won't say whether he believes the NBA leaked the story.
But Warren Flagg, a private investigator and former FBI agent who worked with Donaghy's attorney during the case, will. To shut it down. Weiss disputes that; he told me his tipster wasn't affiliated with the NBA "as far as I know. I was told, 'They're the kind of people who will do anything they can to protect themselves and the game. Among them: Who made the real money?
Who besides Donaghy, Battista and Martino was in on it? There have been hints and suggestions. There's also Scala, who told me he heard from his informants that underground gamblers "could have been making over a hundred million dollars" on Donaghy's games. Perhaps this is why the men who formed Battista's loose, disorderly investor group, the men who were "on the ticket," have, for all these years, remained in the shadows. They were the gamblers and bookmakers closest to Battista. They were among his biggest brokerage clients and most trusted outs.
Whether or not Battista made them explicitly aware of his agreement with Donaghy, their money was used to make one very specific genre of bet: games refereed by Tim Donaghy. They were the real moneymakers of the Donaghy scheme. One of them was a man nicknamed Tiger. By most accounts, Tony "Tiger" Rufo is no longer a gambler.
Over the course of the past decade, he's built a company that has become one of the biggest Planet Fitness franchisees in the nation, with more than 30 locations and exclusive rights to the regions of Philadelphia and Chicago.
Rufo declined to comment for this story. One of Rufo's business partners in the gyms was his old Animals colleague Rhino Ruggieri. The management entity that controls the gyms is registered as Rhino Holdings, and according to its articles of incorporation, it was formed in Delaware County in February Another man who profited off Donaghy was a well-known New York and South Florida bookie and whale who sometimes went by the nickname Popeye on account of his oversize forearms.
He was a man who was, as they say, connected; a man from whose open hotel room window once dangled a person in debt to a Bonanno crime family member; a man whose clients included Hollywood celebrities; and a man who, back in June of , had sat with Battista in a VIP box at Citizens Bank Park for an interleague Phillies-Yankees game. These games would be mostly winners, so Popeye should feel free to move them -- and copy them too.
Popeye, no dummy, asked the obvious question: Who's the handicapper behind these games? And Battista, perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not smartly, gave him the truth. Popeye's eyes grew wide. Popeye, who died of heart disease in at age 61, was born in Manhattan and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, but remained estranged from most of his family for most of the rest of his life.
Popeye's real name was Taylor Breton, and he was the great-great-grandson of Marcus Goldman, the founder, in , of Goldman Sachs. Another key figure was Joseph "Joe Vito" Mastronardo, a major black-market bookie who served as Battista's most significant out. Married to the daughter of powerful Philly mayor Frank Rizzo, who held office in the s, Mastronardo was well-connected.
He had many lucrative gambling-related businesses. He served, for example, as a kind of shadow bank for the global underground gambling industry. For that reason, he had a lot of cash on hand. The last time he was arrested, the police dug up his yard and found sections of PVC pipe buried there. To help get his clients' bets down, Battista as a bet broker needed Joe Vito. That's why, according to someone close to both men, Battista had no choice but to apprise Mastronardo of the Donaghy situation, to tell Joe Vito that this ref was picking sides in his own games-and, most likely, using his whistle to help the bet win.
Joe Vito cannot speak to that today; he was busted in at age 63 for illegal bookmaking in an unrelated federal case. In , Mastronardo had a stroke and died in prison. Another moneymaker -- according to people with knowledge of the events -- was a man named Spiros Athanas. Born in Greece in , a Boston street bookie in the s, Athanas by the late s had moved to Jamaica, where he turned himself into a sharp bettor and bookmaker on a global scale.
According to multiple sources, Battista first began moving bets for Athanas in And at some point, per a person close to the situation, Battista had to tell Athanas, a heavy NBA bettor, that Battista believed he had a profitable edge; a different person close to Athanas' syndicate a decade ago told me that Athanas bet more heavily on Donaghy's games in the season than he did on other NBA games.
In , Athanas was indicted as part of a federal sports-betting case that was unrelated to Donaghy. One morning in early July , Ronnie Nunn was asleep in a hotel room in Las Vegas when his cellphone buzzed him awake. Nunn, then the director of NBA officials, was in town for the NBA summer league games held annually among the casinos, where referee candidates from the minors are assessed for possible promotion to the Show. Litvin's tone was urgent.
Had Nunn heard anything about Donaghy's resignation? Had he heard about Donaghy's gambling "issues" -- about what he had done? Now sitting bolt upright, Nunn answered "no" to all the questions. Litvin then filled him in on the worst of it and told him there was an ongoing investigation, instructing him to say nothing about any of it to anyone. Then he hung up. A few weeks later, four days after the Post story broke, David Stern gave his first news conference.
His messaging was clear: Donaghy was a rogue. He'd acted alone. This was an episode of gambling, yes, but almost assuredly not match-fixing. Stern's conclusion that Donaghy did not fix games would be validated by the federal investigation. Donaghy, in August , and Martino, in April , would plead guilty to two charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to transmit gambling information.
Battista would cut a deal, pleading guilty in April only to the charge of transmission of gambling information. Martino would receive a year and Donaghy and Battista 15 months each in federal prison. But while Donaghy would admit to betting on his own games in his plea agreement, he would not admit to fixing games. With a team of four young lawyers, Pedowitz took a little over a year to conduct the probe and write up the findings in a page report.
Pedowitz, who has retired from his firm, did not respond to requests for comment.
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