A federal jury in Manhattan just found a former Adidas executive guilty of fraud. Prosecutors claimed that James Gatto, head of global sports marketing at Adidas, had used wire fraud to make payments to top-ranking high school basketball players to convince them to attend universities sponsored by Adidas.
Gatto was tried and found guilty alongside Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, as well as Christian Dawkins, a former sports agent. Gatto was found guilty on three counts, while the other two defendants were each found guilty on two counts. According to testimony, Gatto paid the family of a former University of Kansas player 89 thousand dollars.
Prosecutors also said that as a result of this bribery scheme, universities had unknowingly awarded athletics scholarships to students who were not eligible to play, due to the fact that they had accepted money. This would be a violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. The defense attorneys argued that there was no proof that the universities were victims to the bribery schemes and no federal laws had been broken, yet did not contest the allegations of payments made and broken NCAA rules.
The sentencing is scheduled for early March, yet Gatto’s attorney has already shared that he plans to appeal the guilty verdict.