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Ref Sentenced For Tax Evasion

Donald Vaden, one of eight NBA referees charged with downgrading first-class airline tickets purchased by the league and pocketing the difference without telling the IRS, was sentenced to six months' home confinement and two years' probation Friday for tax evasion.

Four NBA referees who previously pleaded guilty were also put on probation. Cases against the other three are pending.

U.S. District Judge James P. Jones ordered Vaden to pay the IRS $12,248 plus a $2,000 fine.

Vaden, 44, of Lynch Station , resigned this year after working for the NBA since 1988.

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.

Vaden admitted when he pleaded guilty in May that he did not report $26,000 in income from the ticket downgrading on his 1993 taxes. According to testimony, Vaden did the same thing in 1992 and failed to report more than $17,000 in income.

Vaden faced a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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