U.S. Attorney's Office names Kansas, others in wire fraud case with Adidas

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NEW YORK (WIBW) -- The University of Kansas was named, along with three other schools, by the U.S. Attorney's Office for an alleged wire fraud conspiracy involving Adidas.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office charges, the families of two Kansas student-athletes were given illegal payments without the knowledge of the university.

You can read the full indictment here.

Court documents say Adidas executive James Gatto, and two others, "conspired to illicitly funnel approximately at least $90,000" to the mother of a top high school basketball player. The payments were made in connection with a commitment by the student-athlete to attend the University of Kansas, a school sponsored by (Adidas) and with the expectation that the student-athlete would sign with (Adidas) upon entering the NBA.”

This occurred between October 2016 and November 2017.

“Earlier today, we learned that the University of Kansas is named as a victim in a federal indictment. The indictment does not suggest any wrongdoing by the university, its coaches or its staff," said Joe Monaco, the director of strategic communications at the University of Kansas. "We will cooperate fully with investigators in this matter. Because this is an active investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

Documents also say the participants agreed to pay the legal guardian of another top recruit. The payments were made in hopes of being undetected by Kansas or the NCAA.

The U.S. Attorney's Office began an investigation in Sept. 2017 into mass corruption in college basketball.

A Yahoo Sports story from February reported that mom of former Kansas guard Josh Jackson (2016-2017) was paid $2,700. Jackson is sponsored by Under Armour.


The indictment also says Gatto paid the athlete's mother in "a series of installments, by causing the money to be transferred indirectly through an AAU team." An alleged $50,000 payment was made to the AAU team in October 2016 for "Basketball Team Tournaments Fee."

It is alleged a $30,000 payment was delivered to the parent at a New York hotel on Oct. 31, 2016.

Gatto allegedly made a $90,000 payment on Jan. 18, 2017 to the AAU team. It was invoiced as "2017 1st Quarter Consultant Fee and T&E for 1st Quarter 2017." The indictment says approximately $20,000 was delivered in cash to the parent in a Las Vegas hotel.

Another payment was allegedly made around May 31, 2017 by Gatto. It was for $70,000 and described on an invoice as "Tournament Activation/Fee." The indictment says $15,000 was transferred by wire to the parent on June 14.