DETROIT -- A retired autoworker facing federal gambling and tax evasion charges will receive a reduced sentence in exchange for detailing his involvement with the Michigan basketball program.
Ed Martin, 66, of Detroit, was charged Friday with running an illegal gambling operation from 1988 through 1998. Published reports said Martin and his son, Carlton Martin, ran a numbers operation at Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge complex.
Martin was banned from contact with the Michigan basketball program in March 1997 amid allegations he gave cash and gifts to players. But federal authorities have said they have found no evidence that Martin's alleged gambling operation included betting on Michigan games.
Martin and his son, who faces identical charges, each could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts. But under terms of plea agreements signed March 9 by both men, neither will serve more than 15 months behind bars.
The plea agreements call on the Martins to cooperate with the ongoing federal gambling investigation. Each man also agreed to cooperate in any university investigation "conducted ... in conjunction with the defendant's contacts and associations with representatives, associates, employees, athletes, andor those affiliated with the University of Michigan."
Bruce Madej, a spokesman for the Michigan athletic department, declined to discuss what kind of information the university was seeking from the Martins.
University attorney Marvin Krislov said although the charges against the Martins "have nothing to do with the university ... when the United States Attorney's Office indicates it is appropriate, we will interview Mr. Martin and his son."
Ed Martin was banished during an internal university investigation triggered by published reports that he had given cash and other gifts to current and former players for years.
Results of that inquiry were reported to the NCAA, which levied only minor sanctions against the program.
The investigation raised questions about Martin's relationships with former Wolverines including NBA players Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose and Robert Traylor.
Coach Steve Fisher was fired in October 1997, two days after a Kansas law firm hired by the university to investigate the basketball program issued a report calling into question Fisher's role in arranging complimentary tickets for Martin.
In 1999, FBI and IRS agents simultaneously raided the homes of Martin, his son and eight men said to be their associates. Agents seized more than $22,000 in cash and boxes of detailed records from Martin's home.
Federal authorities told Michigan officials that those records included payments to Wolverines players, Bollinger has said.
In a separate internal investigation conducted in the spring of 1996, the university told the NCAA that it found no indication that basketball players received improper help from the school in obtaining vehicles.
Martin was not linked to that probe, which was triggered by a Feb. 17, 1996, accident in which player Maurice Taylor crashed a new Ford Explorer found to have been leased by his grandmother.
The crash involved Taylor, Traylor, three teammates and prospective recruit Mateen Cleaves of Flint Northern. Cleaves eventually decided on Michigan State and led the Spartans to the NCAA championship earlier this week.
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