Brandon D. Bivins, Vincent Gemard Gray, and seven other Fort Lauderdale-area coaches was arrested Tuesday for allegedly gambling on their little league teams, news sources indicate. Eight other conspirators were arrested for their part of the scheme as well. Bivins was booked into the Broward County Jail on charges of unlawful bookmarking and running a gambling house, as officials believe he was using two businesses he owns as a cover for the gambling operation. His bail bond was set at $50,000. It is not yet known whether any of the defendants has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
Also arrested were Brad Donte Parker, Brandon Marlon Lewis, and Darroen Gerome Brown, who are all affiliated with the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes; Willie Tindal and La Taurus Tamayne Fort, coaches for the Northwest Broward Raiders; Dave Constantine Small, a coach for the Lauderdale Lions; and Darron Lashawn Bostic, a coach for the Deerfield Beach Packer-Tattlers. Both Bivins and Gray are affiliated with the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes.
The Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes is one of many teams that form the South Florida Youth Football League. Though the South Florida league has only been in the works for a short while, reports say it is comprised of 6,000 children; and, it includes over 20 clubs throughout several South Florida counties. Bivins coaches for the Hurricanes and is also the owner of two Broward County businesses: Showtime Sports and Apparel and a barber shop on Northwest 38th Avenue. Reports indicate this is not the first time he has faced criminal charges; authorities arrested him on previous occasions for possession of marijuana, cocaine, and stolen property, as well as for carrying a concealed weapon and aggravated battery. However, it does not appear as though he has ever been accused of wrongdoing where his coaching or businesses are concerned until now.
These latest allegations stipulate that Bivins ran an illegal little league gambling operation from both of his local businesses. Public interest in the illicit gambling began in 2011, when the sports network ESPN ran a special called “Outside the Lines” which highlighted the issues about the effects of youth gambling. The television program also displayed a number of coaches betting on Broward County youth games, reports say. The alleged gambling occurred in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Deerfield Beach. The show is believed to have incited the investigation into the coaches’ alleged gambling habits.
According to reports, Bivins gave people, including fellow football coaches, the means to bet on the youth’s games. Bivins also allegedly gave his clients the opportunity to place bets on other, non-related sporting events. His based his alleged gambling ring out of his barbershop, sources say. During their investigation and subsequent searches, detectives sorted through Bivins’s trash and found incriminating documents, reports say.
The investigation lasted a total of 18 months and was given the title “Operation Dirty Play.” The operation took advantage of informants who infiltrated the alleged gambling scheme. So far, nine arrests have been made, and it is unclear if more may follow.