SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Spring Valley man who admitted his role in an illegal marijuana ring and gambling business in which he and others bribed a University of San Diego star basketball player to fix USD games was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in federal prison.
Paul Joseph Thweni, 28, pleaded guilty last August to a conspiracy charge.
Thweni and co-defendants Steve Goria and Richard Garmo admitted bribing USD guard Brandon Johnson to influence the outcome of USD games during the 2009-10 season and then attempted to recruit players to do the same thing during the 2010-11 season, prosecutors said.
According to court documents and admissions, Thweni and his co-conspirators profited by placing bets at Las Vegas casinos on games Johnson helped fix.
Prosecutors said Johnson -- who also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced last month to six months in prison -- fixed three to four games at the direction of former USD assistant coach Thaddeus "T.J." Brown.
Brown, who left USD in 2007, was sentenced earlier this month to a year in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy. Brown admitted introducing a member of the current USD team to bettors in 2011, as part of an unsuccessful attempt to fix games after Johnson left the school.
Brown's attorney said his client never fixed games. The attorney said Brown was addicted to gambling and alcohol when he was recruited by co-defendants in the scheme.
Following his arrest in April 2011, Johnson told agents that he knew the point spreads of games and admitted receiving several thousand dollars from bettors afterward, but denied throwing any games.
Goria -- who was sentenced last year to 30 months in prison -- admitted that the conspiracy made more than $120,000 from the game-fixing scheme.
Ten people were indicted in the case in 2011.