Current Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 04:00:16 -0500
HILLSBOROUGH — Georgia real estate agent Patrick Jones was the third indicted Monday in relation to the North Carolina football scandal.
The Cartersville, Ga., resident was indicted on one count of athlete-agent inducement. According to the indictment, Jones gave $725 to a woman identified as Constance Orr to give to former North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn around May 25, 2010.
UNC’s athletic website lists a Constance Orr on the softball team’s roster from 2009-13, but a UNC spokeswoman couldn’t confirm it was the same person.
Jones did not comment on his charges after appearing in court Monday morning.
Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said last week the charges are the first of their kind and aim to protect athletes and institutions from agents.
“The reason for the act is to try to deter agents and people who work for agents inducing athletes who have eligibility left from signing contracts because then they lose their eligibility,” Woodall said last week. “They’re in jeopardy and the institution that they play for is in jeopardy.”
In a search warrant unsealed in September, Jones admitted to being a longtime friend of sports agent Terry Watson. The affidavit stated a FedEx package originating from Jones’ address in Georgia was delivered to Marvin Austin on May 5, 2010.
In the affidavit, Jones admitted to sending money to student athletes at the request of Watson. Jones said the money was sent with the intention of encouraging athletes to enter into a contract with Watson.
Like the other athlete-agent inducement charges in this case, Jones faces a Class I felony, punishable with a maximum of 15 months in prison. If there is no prior record, or only a minor record, the defendant cannot face prison time, and will be put on probation, Woodall said last week.
Jones appeared in front of a judge Monday morning after being released on a $20,000 bond. Jones told the judge he didn’t have a North Carolina attorney but would get one.
Jennifer Wiley Thompson, a former UNC tutor, was the first to be indicted nearly two weeks ago on four counts of athlete agent inducement.
On Wednesday, Watson was indicted on 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement related to money given to Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Quinn, and felony obstruction of justice.
UNC system President Tom Ross told reporters after Friday’s Board of Governors meeting that he was pleased the Secretary of State’s office and District Attorney were pursuing criminal charges under the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act.
“The problem of sports agents is one that no university can solve on its own,” Ross said. “I’m delighted that North Carolina has a tough statue. I’m glad it’s being utilized, I think that will send a positive message.”
UNC-system Board of Governors chairman Peter Hans echoed Ross’ support.
“I applaud the district attorney for holding people accountable for breaking North Carolina’s laws,” he said.
“Particularly these agents who seem to lurk in the shadows, clearly not with the best interest of students at heart, and remain anxious to learn the outcome of the SBI’s investigation because this all emanated from the secretary of state’s work into sports agents.”