Iowa Prosecutors Drop Sports Betting Charges Against Former Iowa State Athletes

Isaiah Lee, Jirehi Brock, Enyi Uwazurike, and Paniro Johnson were among a group of more than 20 student-athletes accused of identity theft and records tampering surrounding underage sports betting.

Mar 1, 2024 • 16:35 ET • 4 min read
Iowa State NCAAF
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Four former Iowa State University athletes had charges for illegal gambling dropped with prejudice by prosecutors on Friday. 

Isaiah Lee, Jirehi Brock, Enyi Uwazurike, and Paniro Johnson were among a group of more than 20 student-athletes accused of identity theft and records tampering surrounding underage sports betting.

According to court filings, Story County assistant attorney Benjamin Matchan filed a motion to dismiss the case after it was discovered that an agent of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations used Geocomply’s geotracking software program to trace the bets without a warrant. 

“The State no longer believes further prosecution in this matter is in the interests of justice,” Matchan wrote in the motion. 

Attorneys for the four former students had filed a motion earlier this week to suppress evidence and dismiss chargers. That motion was dropped after the prosecution ended.

New evidence

According to the court filing, “new evidence” of Geocomply giving DCI access to Kibana, the software program, was discovered on Tuesday. Geocomply “believed DCI extended the scope of its permitted use.”

While Geocomply has since ended the DCI’s access, the motion states that the geotracking company has “failed to respond to the undersigned regarding their position,” leading prosecutors to dismiss charges. 

Incriminating statements

The athletes allegedly used mobile devices to access and place bets on FanDuel and DraftKings. Players at both Iowa State and Iowa University were implicated. 

Most of the students charged with illegal wagering had already pleaded to lesser charges, except for three football players and one wrestler who decided to fight prosecution and no longer face charges.

Their attorneys said the athletes were lied to by the DCI to get incriminating statements. 

Uwazurike, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2022, was suspended by the NFL last summer for violating the league’s gambling policy. Uwazurike wagered on games inside an NFL facility. He’s up for reinstatement in July.

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