Archive for Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Judge plans to sentence former KU athletic department employees Brandon Simmons, Jason Jeffries to two years of probation

March 2, 2011, 8:59 a.m. Updated March 2, 2011, 4:52 p.m.


Two former Kansas Athletics Inc. employees are in line to spend two years on probation and pay thousands of dollars in restitution for their roles in a ticket-skimming scheme that cost the department at least $2 million.

Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons are scheduled to receive their sentences Monday during separate hearings before U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, in U.S. District Court in Wichita.

On Wednesday, Brown filed a “tentative” ruling that calls for Jeffries and Simmons to spend two years on probation on their convictions. Both have pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony — failing to inform authorities about their knowledge of the tickets scheme at KU.

Brown intends to order the two to pay restitution: Simmons would be responsible for $157,480, and Jeffries would be responsible for $56,000.

Federal sentencing guidelines, Brown said, would recommend prison sentences of eight to 14 months, with an option for home detention. But Brown has opted for probation instead, contending that house arrest would not be necessary given “the nature of the offense” and the defendants’ “history and characteristics.”

Jeffries, as assistant director of ticket operations, and Simmons, as assistant athletics director for sales and marketing, were the first two former KU employees to plead guilty in a scheme that the university determined, through an independent investigation, resulted in about 19,000 regular-season tickets for basketball and football being stolen from 2005 to 2010.

A federal investigation — which spurred the KU investigation — ultimately resulted in five others resigning and pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Those others — Charlette Blubaugh, ticket manager; Tom Blubaugh, a paid consultant and Charlette’s husband; Rodney Jones, assistant athletics director for the Williams Fund; Ben Kirtland, associate athletics director for development; and Kassie Liebsch, a systems analyst who briefly served as ticket manager — still await sentencing.

Earlier this week, Simmons’ attorney had asked the judge to delay his client’s sentencing, to give him time to make a case for a reduced sentence. Simmons had pleaded guilty, Mark Bennett Jr. said, with the expectation that prosecutors would file a motion acknowledging “substantial assistance” by his client, a motion that could help support a reduced sentence.

“He’s cooperated from the very get go on this thing,” Bennett said in July, after Simmons entered his guilty plea. “He’s been interviewed twice (by the attorney working for KU). He’s been interviewed by federal agents. He’s provided every piece of information he has, or has been asked about.”

But Bennett learned Monday that no such support would be coming from prosecutors. Richard Hathaway, assistant U.S. attorney, had told him that “since the case has been disposed of without the necessity of a trial the defendant had not provided the requisite substantial assistance,” Bennett said.

Bennett was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to discuss whether the tickets case indeed had been “disposed of,” now that seven defendants had pleaded guilty.

“Our remarks will be made in the courtroom,” Cross said.

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friendlyjhawk 7 years ago

Let's see-I did something wrong and after I was caught I told the truth because I thought I was going to get a DEAL? Hmm, that has scum written all over it. Can't wait to see if you take this off because it might hurt his feelings or his relatives feelings or somebody elses feeling that may have read it.

Kim Murphree 7 years ago

I just want to know who their lawyers were so I can hire them if I am ever in a several million dollar jam.

timeforachange 7 years ago

Friendly: how dare you write such filth! Thank God we have the editors to block such garbage that you spill. In todays world you need to be more PC. The last thing we need to do is hurt the feelings of these crooks. I've had plenty of my opinions taken down or violating the 'you hurt my feelings' clause as well.
The two mentioned in this story didn't stop their actions because they were repentant. NO. They got CAUGHT! That's why they stopped. All of them would still be ripping us off if it weren't for scumbag, I mean, Mr Freeman rolling over on the whole scam.
Now let's all hold hands and pray!

hail2oldku 7 years ago

I wonder just how much of that $213,000 KU or the athletics department will ever receive. I seem to recall a similar order being placed on someone pilfering from KU on Wheels 20+ years ago, and the last I had seen less than 20% of those funds were repaid.

ralphralph 7 years ago

Wow! This is just shocking. The 103-year old judge pre-announces that people who helped steal Two Million Bucks are getting their hands slapped. Are there fraternity brothers in the Court down there, working up the pre-sentence recommendations?

This smells of a HUGE double standard. If you don't get locked up for stealing $ 2 Million, how much do you have to steal to hear the gates clank shut behind you? I'm thinking DG Co SO has a number of fine individuals in their custody at this very moment who stole much less, with much less resultant harm, and perhaps because of things like "hunger" rather than ego and blind greed.

What a horrible injustice to let these scum walk.

Lana Christie-Hayes 7 years ago

DEPLORABLE, But not surprising. Heck! The Judges may have very well been on the receiving end of some of those tickets!! Who knows?? MAKES ME SICK ! ! !

moveforward 7 years ago

I find myself wondering if these guys were renting apartments in east or north lawrence if they'd get that same sort of sentence.

Chris Ogle 7 years ago

Wonder if they were at last nights KU game?? Probably had to watch it on TV..... what a shame.

LHS56 7 years ago

Steal two million dollars and just get a slap on the wrist? And what about the tickets for the final four that just happened to be sold...for year prior (can't remember the game) to those involved in these charges. Justice is blind! Federal guidelines are determining the sentence. How about common sense? How about the sentence equates to the damage done to the University?
How about stealing $200 for a liquor store? What are the "federal guidelines" for this crime? Ohhh....three to five years of hard time.

Orwell 7 years ago

Steal two hundred bucks, you go to the joint. Steal two million… not so much.

Steal $200 million, you win your election.

Thunderdome 7 years ago

It's KU, the inner circle of which gets protection no matter what they do. If you need proof beyond KUAC, look at what's going on in the Business and Law Schools.

Chris Ogle 7 years ago

Justice is blind.....

SEDALIA, Mo. | A former employee of a mid-Missouri bank has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $90,000.

Fifty-one-year-old Denise A. Dove was sentenced Wednesday for the thefts from Excel Bank in Green Ridge and Sedalia.

The Sedalia Democrat reports that Dove was arrested in February 2010 after bank officials called police about unauthorized withdrawals and forged paperwork on three accounts. Court records show Dove told investigators that she took money from between five and 10 accounts.

Dove pleaded guilty in Jan. 18.

The bank has reimbursed customers for the stolen funds.

Read more:

LeBo 7 years ago

Hey, I remember you two were too good for commoners at the KU BB GAMES, aloof and rude. HOPE you enjoy being a felon! "White Justice, Black Robes" is a great book that explains why this outcome is possible in the "American 'criminal justice' system."

Kent Fisher 7 years ago

Whatever happened to the mention of Roger Morningstar in this scandal? If you search for his name in the archives, it appears that it has been scrubbed from the LJW articles which previously mentioned his involvement. Below is an excerpt from a Yahoo article last year:

According to Freeman, the ticket scalping operation at KU began when the Pumps contacted Roger Morningstar – Freeman’s former business partner – in the winter of 2002 and asked him if he knew how to obtain extra Kansas postseason basketball tickets. The Pumps promised him that a significant amount of money could be earned by selling the seats at a price above face value.

Roger Morningstar knew that Jones, who was an assistant ticket manager at the time, was one of Freeman’s close friends, so he told Freeman to ask Jones if he was interested in participating, Freeman said.

“[Roger] was told he could make a ton of money moving tickets,” Freeman said. “So he comes to me and says, ’ Hey, I know you know Rodney [Jones] really well.’”

zzgoeb 7 years ago

So, this is justice for middle-class white people!!! Imagine if two black men, say, oh, regular staff at KU had done this? They would be going away to the Big House for 15-30 minimum! What a joke!!! Lock these crooks up, and seize anything they have purchased since the scam began!!!

LHS56 7 years ago

Thanks KUHOOPS. That is the game I was tying to recall. My understanding is Jones, after meeting with the purchasers of the tickets, was carrying over $100,000 in cash. It seems that by all parties pleading guilty for a "lesser crime" that Joe Public will never know the facts of this situation. Three million????? My guess is over twice that was received by people involved. My guess is the investigation will stop after these pledings.

volunteer 7 years ago

leniency due to the defendants' history and characteristics. I "get" history...assume it means lack of criminal record. But what does the judge mean by "characteristics?" Racial characteristics? Acting ashamed of themselves? Having good posture?

volunteer 7 years ago

leniency due to the defendants' history and characteristics. I "get" history...assume it means lack of criminal record. But what does the judge mean by "characteristics?" Racial characteristics? Acting ashamed of themselves? Having good posture?

Soapbox 7 years ago

They will all write books now and then a tv movie will be made. They will all move to Irvine California, drink wine and LAUGH !

Chris Ogle 7 years ago

Wait until the IRS gets in the "game" .....

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