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Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, convicted of betting on NBA games, moves from Pensacola prison camp to Tampa halfway house

Tim Donaghy, who admitted to betting on games, was released from a prison camp.

Associated Press

Tim Donaghy, who admitted to betting on games, was released from a prison camp.

TAMPA — Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, serving a 15-month sentence on two federal conspiracy charges, was moved Wednesday from a prison camp in Pensacola to a halfway house in Tampa.

Donaghy, who lived in Bradenton before his legal troubles, pleaded guilty to the charges in August 2007, admitting he used inside information to bet on NBA games. He also supplied information, some of it regarding games he officiated, to gamblers.

Donaghy told a federal judge he predicted game-winners successfully about 60 to 80 percent of the time using "nonpublic" information. He then passed on his picks to a professional gambler, who gave him cash.

His release date from the Pensacola prison had been in question after another inmate assaulted him in November 2008, according to Executive Prison Consultants, a firm hired by Donaghy that offers services for federal prisoners. The other inmate, claiming ties to the New York mob, beat Donaghy with a heavy object, resulting in severe knee and leg injuries.

"He's doing okay. He's certainly excited at the prospect of getting out (of the Pensacola prison)," said Pat Zaranek, Donaghy's spokesman from the consulting company. "But he continues with a lot of heartache and remorse over what happened and what he did."

Zaranek said the halfway house would give Donaghy, 42, limited freedom. He's expected to look for a job and start working, spend time with his four daughters and get treatment for his gambling addiction.

Donaghy, who has a marketing degree from Villanova, doesn't have any job prospects, said Zaranek, who couldn't give the location of the halfway house but described it as a dorm or converted hotel.

Most halfway houses have about 100 residents, he said. Donaghy would have a roommate and be allowed out without supervision when going to work, to therapy or during preauthorized free time.

He would be able to keep 75 percent of any wages he makes, except for outstanding restitution payments.

Donaghy's lawyer, John Lauro, told the St. Petersburg Times that Donaghy would probably not give any statements or answer questions.

"He's looking forward to rebuilding his life and getting things back in order," Lauro said. "This is a big step."

Donaghy is scheduled for release in October.

Zaranek has told news agencies that Donaghy is working on a tell-all memoir about his 13 years in the NBA that will expose the league's culture of fraud.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, convicted of betting on NBA games, moves from Pensacola prison camp to Tampa halfway house 06/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:25pm]
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