Author: Joseph N. Gagliano
Publisher: Rebel Publishing
1994 was the year when one of the worst sporting scandals had taken place involving two Arizona State University basketball players, Stevin Smith and his teammate Isaac Burton Jr.who had conspired to participate in a point-shaving scandal. Smith, who was deep in debt, received $80,000 to affect the point spread of four games. He realized he could not do it alone and so he enlisted his teammate Burton and paid him a total of $4,300 over two games.
One of the principal organizers of the scheme was a twenty-four year old Phoenix investment adviser Joseph N. Gagliano and in his memoir No Grey Areas: The Inside Story of the Largest Point Shaving Scandal in History and the Consequences Thereafter, he describes how he organized and financed the fixing of the games that eventually led to a prison term for sports bribery, conspiracy to commit sports bribery, interstate transportation and aid of racketeering. His sentence was 15 months in prison, three years' parole, 100 hours of community service and fined $6,000. This alone is fodder for a great yarn, but there is more to this memoir as we read about Gagliano's roller coaster life that was filled with regret.
It is ironic that Gagliano was successful when establishing various honest businesses and when he was not trying to beat the system, nonetheless, greed was his downfall. He was born with God-given talents to build wealth and success, but he wanted to take the easy road and misapply these talents that in time led to terrible ramifications. As he points out, he did not believe that what he was doing was illegal but rather they were grey areas that allowed them to be in the forefront of his illegal dealings. He was brought up in a household to differentiate right from wrong, however, somehow he was always able to rationalize his actions because he thought he wasn't robbing, cheating or stealing from anyone personally. It was “a nameless, faceless system that lost.” And unfortunately, he learned this painful lesson not only once with the basketball scandal but a second time with another venture.
Gagliano tells his readers that when he first came up with the idea of putting his life to pen and paper he had a few goals. Firstly, was not to deal with his truly private and personal matters. Secondly, was to try to show that the choices we make in life create a new path to follow. Although a choice may seem to be at first harmless, sooner or later it catches up with us and we will suffer the consequences. He attributes the beginning of his bad choices when he was not held accountable early on his life when he was on the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. It was at the age of twenty-three, where for the first time in his life he knowingly compromised his integrity for the lure of easy money.
The book really becomes interesting when Gagliano enlivens his memoir with vivid details of his experiences with the legal system and his dealings with supposedly honest lawyers.