Judge Orders Broome County Basketball Scammers To Pay Damages

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — The operators of AAUConnect, a fraudulent college basketball preparatory training program which operated in Broome County from 2016 to 2018, were ordered to pay over $380,000 in damages, mostly to families involved.

The Office of New York Attorney General Letitia James secured the order for Chris Bevin and Hazel Ward to repay the families. (Richard Drew/AP Photo)

Last year, Broome County Supreme Court Judge Jeffery Tait ruled that Chris Bevin and Hazel Ward were liable to return funds they collected for the phony basketball program, which touted itself as a feeder program for Division I college teams.

An order by Tait last week demands Bevin and Ward return $239,000 to 27 families.

“Instead of connecting young people with real opportunities and providing them access to a premier basketball training program, AAUCONNECT and its owners cheated students out of their money and their futures,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office sued Bevin and Ward. “While so many have now lost a shot at their hoop dreams, we’ve ended AAUCONNECT’s fraudulent practices and run out the clock on their illegal operation.”

The additional $141,000 levied on Bevin and Ward will go toward civil penalties and other costs. Any other victims of the scam may also submit a complaint with the Attorney General’s Binghamton office before Dec. 9.