Warrant: Wichard paid coach to buy UNC player's flight
Posted March 2, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — Investigators have issued a search warrant for the financial records of NFL agent Gary Wichard as they continue looking into whether North Carolina's sports agent laws have been broken.
The search warrant was issued Tuesday to Bank of America for certain financial documents connected to Wichard and his California-based firm, ProTect Management LLC, since January 2009.
In the warrant application, Sam Cabrera, an investigator for the North Carolina Secretary of State outlined the relationships and financial exchanges that allegedly link Wichard to two former players on the University of North Carolina football team.
UNC's Marvin Austin was one of three players suspended from the team for the entire 2010 season.
In the warrant, Cabrera outlines interviews with Austin, Wichard and NFL player and former Tar Heel Kentwan Balmer in which the trio agreed that Austin had traveled to California to visit and work out with Balmer twice in 2009. On the second trip, the three agree, Austin met Wichard.
All three claimed a coach from Austin's high school paid for the flights. The coach, Todd Amis, told investigators he was reimbursed for those expenses by Wichard.
According to the warrant, Amis showed investigators a canceled check from Wichard's ProTect Management.
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's office launched an investigation after the NCAA began looking into possible agent-related benefits in North Carolina's football program.
Marshall spokesman George Jeter said Wednesday the search warrant was "definitely a step forward in the investigation."
North Carolina law forbids sports agents from giving gifts or money to student-athletes. The documents released Wednesday say the secretary of state has "probable cause to believe that PTM and Wichard furnished items of value to Austin."
The state expects to find evidence of the financial exchange in a search of the ProTect Management bank accounts.
The NFL Players Association suspended Wichard in December for nine months for his role in the UNC probe.
Receiver Greg Little, who lost his senior season at UNC for accepting improper benefits from an agent, will speak to The Insiders Thursday on 620AM The Buzz at 8 a.m.