Ex-Referee Under House Arrest

Former NBA referee Joe Crawford was sentenced to six months of house arrest and three years' probation Friday for federal income tax fraud.

Crawford was one of eight NBA referees accused of downgrading first-class airline tickets purchased by the league and pocketing the difference without reporting it on his income tax.

The 47-year-old Crawford apologized at his sentencing in U.S. District Court and said he was sorry for putting his family and friends through the ordeal.

Crawford, an NBA official for 21 years, pleaded guilty July 1 to one count of tax fraud. He resigned the same day.

Related Links

Forum: Does the punishment fit the crime?

Under the referee's collective bargaining agreement with the NBA, the league was required to buy referees first-class tickets on plane trips longer than two hours.

Crawford has already repaid $108,491 in taxes, including $24,660 he owed on income from the reduced air fare.

More than 150 people -- including several NBA stars -- wrote to Judge Herbert Hutton pleading for leniency.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App