Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fire up the Black Helicopters: Wiretaps could lead focus in Auburn Point Shaving Scandal

JailAubieDid he say wiretaps?  Why yes. He did.

Noting that betting data from Las Vegas and offshore sports books showed no hint of abnormal betting on Auburn’s basketball games,’s Evan Woodbery explains that the focus of the federal probe into alleged point shaving by suspended player Varez Ward could be local.

He discusses recent high profile point shaving scandals, including the Toledo, San Diego and Hawaii cases, noting that in the first two, local conspiracies to fix games were uncovered. In the Hawaii case, local and federal authorities found insufficient evidence to move forward.

However, Woodbery explains how investigators might develop leads and collect evidence:

“While Las Vegas sports books keep records on big wagers and have algorithms designed to spot peculiar wagering patterns, local investigations can be painstaking efforts relying on phone records, wiretaps and other evidence.”

Coincidentally, the news of the point shaving scandal hit the day after the bingo fraud case ended with acquittals for all defendants. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last two years, that case centered around evidence collected by the FBI through wiretapping the phones of high profile gambling and political figures in the state of Alabama.

According to court documents and testimony from both trials in the bingo case, federal authorities eavesdropped on thousands of phone conversations between Alabama casino operators, their lobbyists and state legislators during an effort to pass a bill that would pave the way for a constitutional amendment legalizing casino style gambling in Alabama.

But during the trials themselves, a mere fraction of the wiretap evidence was submitted in testimony and made it into the public record.

A day after the verdict in a high profile gambling and corruption case, news of the point shaving scandal hit.

Nothing drives conspiracy theories better than a series of interesting coincidences. Let the dot connectin’ begin, y’all.

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