Nine men arrested on Monday were supposed to coach youth football players. They gambled on them as well.
The men were arrested in South Florida on Monday after an 18-month investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The arrests in Deerfield Beach was the culmination of “Operation Dirty Play,” which law enforcement undertook in May 2011 following an ESPN story that showed widespread gambling on youth football in the area.
The investigation – which was conducted with the Lauderhill and Fort Lauderdale police departments, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office and the U.S. Marshals Service – found that point spreads were set before games by coaches, the president of the South Florida Youth Football League and others affiliated with teams.
It also revealed two businesses served as gambling houses – Showtime Sports and Apparel in Lauderdale Lakes and Red Carpet Kutz Barbershop in Lauderhill. The investigation sought illegal gambling on pro and college sports but found the businesses often took bets on youth football games.
Very few people had their hair cut there,” said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella. “I don’t even think there were clippers.”
According to ESPN, as much as $20,000 was bet on the rivalry game between the Northwest Broward Raiders and the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes and $100,000 was expected to be gambled on the league championship.
Arrested in the operation were: Brandon Bivins, Darron Bostic, Darren Brown, Brandon Lewis, Brad Parker, La Taurus Fort, Dave Small, Willie Tindal and Vincent Gray.
Bivins, Brown, Lewis, Parker and Gray coached or were affiliated with the Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes. Fort and Tindal coached the Lauderhill Lions, while Bostic coached the Deerfield Beach Packer-Rattlers and Small coached the Lauderhill Lions.
Six of the men arrested have extensive criminal histories and felony convictions, including for gambling, dealing drugs and burglary. All were charged with felony bookmaking, and some were charged with keeping a gambling house.
“We’re hoping that parents and city officials take a look at this and realize that you have to do background checks on anybody who’s around kids to this extent,” said Moschella. “And if they have any criminal history, they shouldn’t be coaching kids. They shouldn’t be mentoring kids.
“They’re hard core criminals. They were not in this for the kids. They were in this for the money.”