Nine of the suspects nabbed in Operation ‘Dirty Play’
An undercover investigation into an alleged betting pool involving a South Florida youth football league has uncovered shocking details about the group’s payment policies. According to an undercover officer, team coaches placed bets on their players. Some even paid them performance and recruitment bonuses.
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Some of the players involved in the betting are as young as 9-years-old. Nine coaches in total are suspected in the ring. All deny wrongdoing.
“It’s just so unfortunate for the kids involved because most of them don’t have any idea,” the officer told WSVN.com. “They just want to be part of something. They just want to be a part of something positive.”
Video from last year shows two coaches from opposing teams collecting cash from the bets. This prompted the Broward Organized Crime Task Force to investigate the ring.
Brandon Bivins, the group’s suspected leader, posted bond Wednesday. His ring combined bets for as much as $100,000 on the games, according to authorities. Prior to his arrest for his role in the scheme, Bivins had a long rap sheet. His record shows nine felonies before his more recent arrest.
That fact wasn’t lost on Broward Lieutenant Frank Ballante.
“He’s been to Florida State Prison,” Ballante revealed about Bivins. “He’s out now, and he’s coaching youth football. So, you know what? This may be a little part of this investigation, but to us, Fort Lauderdale, City of Lauderhill, BSO, this is the beginning for us. We hope this spins up. Bivins wasn’t the only coach who has a shady past. One of the guys was convicted of trafficking cocaine. That’s a minimum mandatory sentence in the state of Florida. In 15 years, he’s out and he’s coaching youth football.”
Also arrested in the ring were Darren Brown, Vincent Gray, Brandon Lewis, Brad Parker, La Taurus Fort, Willie Tindal, Darron Bostic and Dave Small.
The Broward County Organized Crime Unit has set up a Youth Football Hotline where people can call in with tips. The number is 954-888-5259.
ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” did an investigative piece on the alleged right. You can watch it here.