Former professional basketball referee Timothy Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison today in Brooklyn for betting on games.

Donaghy is a “pathological” gambler whose betting activity was so out of control that he would place $500 wagers on winning holes when he played golf, said a gambling addiction counselor.

“In short, he could not stop himself from gambling,” treatment counselor Stephen Block said in a statement filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

Donaghy, 42, is to be sentenced today by Judge Carol Amon. Defense attorney John Lauro filed Block’s assessment in an effort to argue that his client should get a sentence much lower than the 33 months called for by sentencing guidelines because Donaghy had diminished capacity when he committed various gambling crimes.

“I have concluded that Mr. Donaghy is a pathological gambler and that his illness was the genesis of the illegal conduct in this case,” Block said.

In June, prosecutors filed papers saying they didn’t think compulsive gambling diminished Donaghy’s capacity.

In August 2007, Donaghy, who quit his NBA job in July 2007 and has since been divorced, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to transmit wagering information.

Prosecutors said that from 2003 to 2007, Donaghy provided betting recommendations on NBA games – including some he officiated in – to friend Jack Concannon. The scheme with Concannon, who wasn’t charged, netted Donaghy up to $30,000 a year, investigators said.    Continue Reading