Athletes from Iowa Accuse Sports Betting Investigators of Using Unauthorized Tools During Investigation, Civil Lawsuit Filed

Home » Athletes from Iowa Accuse Sports Betting Investigators of Using Unauthorized Tools During Investigation, Civil Lawsuit Filed

Iowa and Iowa State athletes decided to enter a battle against the state and hired attorneys Van Plumb and Matthew Boles to file a civil lawsuit against the state and its public safety and criminal investigation agencies on Friday, April 26, 2024. The reason for that is the alleged violation of their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights during the investigation, causing suffering and pain, and damaging their reputation, for which they seek monetary damages.

The process:

The federal court in Des Moines is in charge of the process, in which 17 players from Iowa, eight from Iowa State, and one from Ellsworth Community College ask for a jury trial, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Regarding the 2023 investigation, most of the athletes who were connected to the probe agreed to accept guilty pleas for underage gambling and pay a fine, for which a count of identity theft was dismissed.

However, not all who were part of the investigation followed suit, including football players, Isaiah Lee, Jirehl Brock, and Enyi Uwazurike, as well as wrestler Paniro Johnston. Instead, all charges against each were dropped in March after it was discovered that the Division of Criminal Investigation misused tracking software that reportedly detected open mobile betting apps on cellular phones within ISU athletic facilities.

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The athletes claimed that they had the right to be excluded from the warrantless search and seizure. Also, they mentioned the lack of training for investigators, especially when it comes to Kibana tracking software.

As the AP reports, the attorneys wrote a statement, saying: “The lives of these young men have been disrupted and altered in a way still yet to be fully seen. Many of them have had their athletic careers ended, due to the State of Iowa’s unconstitutional use of GeoComply’s Kibana software. It is our hope that through civil action we can help these young men put their lives back on track and gain a measure of justice for the violation of their rights.”

Apart from attorney fees and compensatory damages, the athletes hope to be awarded punitive damages as well.

Athletes vs. the state:

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The defendants include Stephan Bayens, a Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, David Jobes, the Assistant Director of DCI, Troy Nelson, a Special Agent for Sports Wagering at DCI, and Brian Sanger, also a Special Agent.

In a statement that was issued in January 2024, the DPS claimed that the investigation would stand up to examination, and their attorneys highlighted the fact that they didn’t have access to GeoComply’s tool at the time, since the contract ended a few days earlier.

The main issue occurred when the software revealed betting apps that were allegedly used by athletes but without any complaint about match-fixing or sports betting.

Most of the athletes reportedly registered under the false name, since they didn’t have the right to bet, which led to NCAA eligibility and criminal charges. On the other hand, Sanger was accused of tracking the athletes and getting information from platforms to find out which credit cards were used and who were the athletes who placed the bets. The use of this software without a warrant isn’t allowed, and on top of that, DCI didn’t have access to the tool because of a violation of the user agreement.

As Sanger reportedly claims, he didn’t have any tips or information, just his own concerns, which led to an investigation.

As the attorneys revealed in court filings, the athletes thought that the companies who provided the betting services were under investigation, and they were never read their Miranda rights, so all statements that could incriminate them shouldn’t be considered in court.

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