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Former coach sentenced on wire fraud charges

Brookneal resident Thomas Patric Boggs, a former AAU coach and mentor to a local college basketball star, received a 57-month sentence for one count of wire fraud Tuesday in United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg, according to Brian McGinn of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The court sentenced the 60-year-old Boggs to 57 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release, and it ordered him to pay over $380,000 to the victims of his fraud.

“Mr. Boggs exploited the trust placed in him by Travis Watson and turned it into a vehicle for fraud,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said Tuesday.

“He stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mr. Watson and caused harm that extends well beyond financial loss.”

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Boggs admitted that he met Travis Watson when Watson was a freshman in high school in Texas.

During a trip to Lynchburg to play in an AAU tournament, Watson met Boggs, who welcomed Watson into his home.

The two soon became close and through Boggs’ efforts Watson was able to attend Oak Hill Academy, where he continued to develop his basketball skills.

Watson considered Boggs a mentor, coach and father figure.

Following high school, Watson attended and played basketball at the University of Virginia before playing professionally in Greece, Lithuania and other places in Europe.

The government’s evidence established, and Boggs admitted, that during Watson’s time overseas, Boggs approached him and offered to invest a portion of Watson’s earnings to ensure financial security post-basketball.

Boggs knew that due to the close personal nature of their relationship, Watson would trust him to invest his money wisely.

Boggs instructed Watson how to wire money into a pair of accounts, and that Watson expected Boggs to invest that money for Watson’s benefit.

Between 2009 and 2011, Watson wired $357,965 to the accounts controlled by Boggs, who admitted that he used nearly all the money sent by Watson to pay the personal expenses of Boggs and to pay family members.

In addition, throughout the process, Boggs assured Watson that he was making sound investments and that he was going to make Watson a “millionaire.” 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted investigation of the case, and Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Giorno and Laura Rottenborn prosecuted the case for the United States.