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College Basketball

Silman gets 46 months for his part in ASU point-shaving scandal

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Posted: Tuesday June 30, 1998 08:34 PM

 

PHOENIX (AP) -- The alleged mastermind of Arizona State's basketball point-shaving scandal was sentenced Tuesday to 46 months in prison, a tougher sentence than the government had sought.

Prosecutors had recommended that Benny Silman, 27, receive a 42-month sentence for rigging and gambling on the outcome of basketball games during the 1994 season, when he was an ASU student.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Broomfield justified the harsher punishment by saying the scandal could discourage poor children from trying to succeed in sports and improve their lives.

"The gambling here went beyond just yourself. It affects a lot of us," he said.

Silman entered a plea agreement with prosecutors in April, admitting five counts of sports bribery.

"Through this all I think I've realized I was addicted to a lifestyle taken over by drug use, alcohol abuse and gambling," he said.

Silman admitted bribing Stevin "Hedake" Smith and Isaac Burton to miss shots during the 1994 season so he and other gamblers could beat the projected point spread in four games.

Smith and Burton pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme in December. Joseph Gagliano, 29, a Phoenix investment adviser, also pleaded guilty, as did alleged bookmakers Dominic Mangiamele, 61, of Mount Prospect, Illinois, and his son, Joseph Mangiamele , 36, of Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Silman is the first of the defendants to be sentenced. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Lodge said the others would likely receive reduced sentences because they cooperated with investigators.

"I think 46 months in prison sends a message to the next would-be campus 'bookkeeper,'" he said.

Lodge said Silman would likely serve almost all of his prison sentence. He refused to say whether prosecutors were investigating other possible suspects.

Neither Silman, of North Hollywood, California, nor his lawyer, David Chenoff, would comment after the sentencing.

At Chenoff's request, Broomfield agreed to recommend that Silman serve his sentence at a federal minimum-security prison camp in Southern California. Broomfield also agreed to request that Silman be allowed to participate in a 500-hour drug program, and ordered him to get counseling for his gambling addiction.

The Mangiameles, Smith and Burton are scheduled for sentencing September 28; Gagliano's sentencing is scheduled for September 14.

The alleged conspirators placed more than 61 bets totaling $506,000 on the basketball games in what the FBI said was a major sports gambling scandal.

A federal grand jury returned a 72-count indictment in December against the Mangiameles, Silman and Gagliano, accusing them of sports bribery, money laundering and racketeering.

Smith, the Sun Devils' No. 2 all-time leading scorer, agreed to fix the four games for $20,000 a game, in part to erase a reported $10,000 gambling debt to Silman, according to Smith and Silman's plea agreements. Smith also admitted to recruiting Burton to take part in the scheme; Burton was paid $4,300 for helping fix two games.

 

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