Donaghy’s probation officer investigating ex-NBA ref’s current employer

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Tim Donaghy’s probation officer has been in contact with the ex-NBA ref and is currently conducting an investigation of his employer, a sports handicapper with a federal conviction on gambling charges.

Donaghy has been working as a handicapping consultant for Danny Berrelli at since October of 2010.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Berrelli is an alias for Daniel T. Biancullo, who was convicted in 2004 for his role in a sports gambling operation in Florida.

Donaghy is prohibited from associating with felons while serving probation for his role in a gambling scandal during his time as an NBA official. His probation is set to end later this summer.

“We are investigating the true identity of Danny Berrelli,” Steve Beasley, Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the Middle District of Florida, told the Daily News on Monday. “We were not aware that Danny Berrelli had any other names.”

Donaghy said in an email early Tuesday that he planned on visiting his probation officer’s office to discuss the report.

“We are supervising Mr. Donaghy and have been in contact with him about this,” Beasley said in a Tuesday afternoon phone interview.

Beasley said he could not comment on whether or not this type of probation violation could land Donaghy back in prison.

Biancullo was one of three men who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transmit wagering information in May of 2004. He worked for Player’s Edge Inc. and National Sports Consultants Inc., offering supposed inside information for a fee and referring clients to specific offshore gambling casinos that then provided money back to the companies.

“We’d entice people to join up with us,” Biancullo was quote as saying in a 2004 article in the Naple News. “We never really had ‘information.’ Our job was to get you to bet as much as you could. The more you take the more you make — that was the motto there.”

Biancullo was sentenced to sixth months of home detention and three years probation.

Donaghy, who served 13 months in prison, joined Bianculla’s handicapping service as a consultant in October of 2010. According to the Daily News, he denied knowing of his boss’s past conviction. In a recent phone interview, Donaghy told David Purdum Sports how grateful he was to Biancullo, who prefers to be called Danny B.

“If Danny didn’t reach out to me, honestly, I don’t know what I’d be doing,” Donaghy said.

But now it seems like Biancullo might have brought Donaghy some unwanted attention, just weeks after he won a million-dollar lawsuit against the former publisher of his book, “Personal Foul,” Shawna Vercher.

Vercher, now a political radio talk show host, is appealing the ruling.

The Daily News reported that Donaghy was making $50,000 in salary plus car payments from Berrelli. Donaghy owes the NBA $250,000 in court-mandated restitution.

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