Multiple news outlets reported Friday that former Penn coach Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes while at Penn.
The Miami Herald reported Friday that a Miami Beach businessman has been charged with paying bribes to Allen so his son could be accepted as a “recruited” player to Penn.
The bribery allegations were included in an expanded indictment against Philip Esformes accusing him of giving Allen more than $74,000 in the form of cash, a recruiting trip to Miami and a separate ride on a private jet in 2013 and 2014, according to Bloomberg.
The indictment, which per the Miami Herald expands upon a $1 billion Medicare fraud case that led to Esformes’s arrest two years ago, does not identify the university, coach or student-athlete, Bloomberg noted. But a Justice Department prosecutor, prompted by a question from a Miami federal judge, disclosed Friday that the college listed in the indictment is Penn, the basketball coach is Allen, and the student is Esformes’ son, Morris, according to the Miami Herald.
From the Miami Herald report:
“Esformes arranged for a limousine to pick up the coach at the swank Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach and bring him to the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami to watch his son play to assess his basketball skills in 2013, according to the indictment. Esformes also arranged for the limo to bring the coach to his home on North Bay Road in Miami Beach, where he has a regulation basketball court behind a second home that he owns next door.
Esformes picked up Allen’s tab at the Fontainebleau Hotel, totaling $2,008.72, according to the indictment.
Esformes then paid the coach $53,000 in bribes in three separate wire transfers between July and December in 2014, the indictment said. The healthcare executive made those transfers “through various concealed methods,” such as directing an administrator who worked for him to send the payments through banks accounts that were not in Esformes’ name.
Esformes also paid $19,549.56 for a jet to fly himself, his son and the coach from Philadelphia to Miami in March 2015.”
Penn fired Jerome Allen in March 2015 following Allen’s sixth season as head coach and a 65-104 record compiled during that span, and he was hired by the NBA’s Boston Celtics as an assistant coach four months later.
A lawyer for Philip Esformes said his client will plead not guilty when he appears in court on July 27 in Miami, according to Bloomberg.
From Hebrew Academy (Fla.), Esformes was Penn’s first recruit in the class of 2015, per the Daily Pennsylvanian.
Former Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell in 2016 identified Esformes’s alleged $1 billion Medicaid and Medicare bribery and kickback scheme as the “largest single criminal health care fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Defense Attorney Howard Srebnick reportedly told the Miami Herald Friday that Morris Esformes qualified to get into Penn on his own academic and athletic merits and denied the alleged bribery scheme.