James”Jimmy””Bah-Bah””The Sheep” Battista was a stressed-out, overweight, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, in the pit to a underground gamblers for sums he’d sort of lost track of, when he settled in to watch an NBA game for which he believed he would simply put in the fix. It was January 2007. A month or so ago, long before Christmas, he’d done something adventuresome: He had sat down and cut a deal with an NBA referee. Now he feared the scheme had become too obvious.
“You wanna get paid?” Battista had said to the ref. “Then you gotta pay the f–ing spread” The bribe was only two dimes, $2,000 per game — an outrageous bargain. In case the choice won, the ref got his two dimes. If the choice missed, then the ref owed nothing; Battista would consume the loss. A”free roll,” as they call it. But this referee didn’t lose much. His selections were winning at an 88% clip, entirely unheard of sports betting for any sustained time period. They’re now entering the first week of this scheme — what you might call a sustained time period.
Battista had known the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 decades. They’d gone to the same parochial high school in the working-class Catholic areas of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, as it is sometimes called — where the sports pubs are plentiful, where a particular easy familiarity with forms of betting prevails, where men have bookies like they’ve got dentists.
Battista was a monster of the planet. He was what is known as a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are neither gamblers nor bookmakers. They’re a species of broker that supplies services to sports bettors, putting down wagers on their customers’ behalf with bookmakers of various types around the world, lawful and not. Battista was positioned well in that world that, without Donaghy’s knowledge but based on Donaghy’s picks, he’d helped put up a sort of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several individuals from the sports-betting underworld had, in consequence, staked Battista a bankroll — a finance that he was now using to bet games officiated with this one NBA referee. One member of this group called it”the ticket” and”the corporation.”
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