Grand jury indicts ex-UNC tutor in agents probe
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — A former UNC tutor who worked with Tar Heels football players has been charged with violating the state’s sports agent laws.
An unsealed indictment states that a grand jury indicted Jennifer Wiley Thompson with four counts of providing benefits to former UNC football player Greg Little to help Georgia-based agent Terry Watson to sign Little. Thompson was arrested Thursday morning and released on a $15,000 secured bond. She made her first court appearance Thursday afternoon and faces an Oct. 15 court hearing.
The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office launched its investigation in 2010, shortly after the NCAA started looking into improper benefits and academic misconduct in the program. Thompson, now married, was connected to several academic violations in that probe.
The state’s Uniform Athletes Agents Act requires agents to register with the Secretary of State’s office and is designed to shield athletes from sports agents who would offer gifts to entice them to sign representation contracts.
It is a Class I felony to violate the law, meaning a maximum prison sentence of 15 months, and violations also could carry civil penalties of up to $25,000. Prosecution of the law is left to district attorneys in the locations where violations are alleged to have occurred. That decision fell to Jim Woodall, the district attorney in Orange County where the university is located.
The grand jury said Thompson provided Little with airline tickets for himself and a friend. It also said she provided $150 in cash and received a package from Watson containing $2,000 in cash for Little, now with the Cleveland Browns.
Little told investigators that Watson provided him with more than $20,000 in cash and benefits in 2010, according to a search warrant unsealed last month. In an affidavit attached to that search warrant, special agent A.H. Jones with the Secretary of State’s office said Little reimbursed Thompson for expenses paid on his behalf with money received from Watson or a financial adviser.
Little also told investigators he enlisted Thompson to help him in his agent search and that he met with agents at least three times in her residence, according to that affidavit.
Watson didn’t immediately return a call Thursday from The Associated Press to his office in Marietta, Ga.
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