Sports agent William (Tank) Black was sentenced Thursday to nearly seven years in prison on a money-laundering charge, becoming the second man sent to prison in the federal case in two days.
U.S. District Chief Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled that Black's six-year, 10-month sentence would be followed by three years of supervised probation. Black, 44, also was fined $15,000.
Black still faces Florida charges that he bilked millions of dollars from about a dozen professional football players.
On Wednesday, Zatkoff sentenced former Black associate James Albert Franklin to 32 months behind bars, two years of post-prison probation, and $10,000 in fines.
Franklin had been the general counsel at Black's South Carolina-based Professional Management Inc.
Black pleaded guilty in January, Franklin last October. In deals with prosecutors, both admitted helping convicted drug traffickers and others move cash drug proceeds from Detroit through South Carolina and the Bahamas, then back into the United States through a complex series of shell corporations and offshore bank accounts.
Black acknowledged having a role in laundering more than $1 million, U.S. Attorney Alan Gershel said Thursday in a statement announcing the latest sentencings.
A co-defendant, John Bryant, has been sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison for drug trafficking as part of the same case.
Sentences for Black and Franklin were increased by an unspecified amount because they lied to investigators, with Black also giving false testimony to a grand jury that eventually indicted the agent, Franklin and Bryant in June 2000, Gershel said.
Franklin also got a stiffer punishment "because he used his special skills" in the money laundering, namely as a licensed lawyer and holder of a master's degree in business administration, Gershel said.
He also produced bogus documents to hinder the investigation, Gershel said.
"I was blinded by money, success and power," Franklin said in March.
"Now I'm a felon. There's no excuse for what I did."
Black, a former Michigan real estate investor, was returned to Michigan to face criminal charges, after his arrest last July in South Carolina, where he owned a travel agency.
In Florida, Black has been free on $1-million bond on charges that he swindled about a dozen NFL players out of millions of dollars.
Clients included Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor, New York Giants wide receiver Ike Hilliard and Philadelphia running back Duce Staley.
In Louisiana, Black is accused of conspiring to bribe two people connected with the Louisiana State University football program.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also has sued Black, accusing him of defrauding the NFL players.
Last week in Florida, a federal judge sentenced Black assistant Alfred (Tweet) Twitty to six months' house arrest for helping pay former University of Florida football players while they were still students, and for defrauding NFL players of millions of dollars.
Twitty also was given five years' probation and fined $5,000.
Twitty's six months of home confinement was to include electronic monitoring, the judge ordered.
Franklin and South Carolina businessman Robert Ellenburg also have pleaded guilty in that case and await sentencing.
As of last week, Black and three other co-defendants had not worked out any plea deals in the case.
By Jim Suhr