NY Judge Sentences Disgraced NBA Referee to 15 Months

NEW YORK (AP) - Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has been sentenced to 15 months behind bars. He's going to prison after setting off a gambling scandal that tarnished the reputation of the league and raised questions about the integrity of its officiating.

The sentencing in Brooklyn federal court culminated a case that hung over the league throughout the season and even into the NBA finals. League commissioner David Stern angrily denied Donaghy's claim that corruption among referees goes beyond him.

The 41-year-old disgraced ref had faced up to 33 months in prison, but the judge gave him credit for his cooperation. Donaghy's lawyer had asked for probation.

Donaghy pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce for taking payoffs from a professional gambler for inside tips on games.

Last week, two of Donaghy's former high school classmates were sentenced to over a year in prison for their roles in the scheme.

The NBA had demanded nearly 1.4 million dollars in restitution. But the judge last week set the figure at $217,266, to be paid jointly by the three defendants.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)