Fight promoter pleads guilty to fixing bouts

Tue, May 4, 2004 (9:12 a.m.)

A boxing promoter has pleaded guilty to fixing fights including an August 2000 match between Thomas Williams and Richard Melito Jr. at Paris Las Vegas.

Robert Mittleman, 61, of Oak Park, Ill., admitted to fixing two fights and attempting to bribe an assistant U.S. attorney and a federal district judge to try to get a federal indictment against Williams to be dropped.

He pleaded guilty April 16, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's office on Monday.

Mittleman said that in July 2000, at the request of boxing promoter Robert Mitchell, he arranged for Williams to lose to Melito on a Don King-promoted card at Paris Las Vegas, federal officials said.

Mittleman was paid $1,000 to arrange the fix and Williams got up to $15,000 for losing the fight, prosecutors said.

A March 31, 2000, fight was also fixed by Mittleman for $1,000, when he arranged for Williams to lose to Brian Nielson in Denmark.

Williams was paid $40,000 by Danish boxing promoter Mogens Palle to lose the fight, prosecutors said.

In addition, Mittleman admitted to offering $15,000 to an undercover police officer in an attempt to get the case against Williams dismissed. Mittleman made a $3,000 down payment to the officer.

According to a federal grand jury indictment returned in August 2001, Thomas was approached by his promoter, Robert Mitchell, and brought into a scheme to throw the fight for Melito to promote Melito's career.

The indictment states that Mitchell and others "arranged for at least some of Richard Melito Jr.'s opponents to accept bribes of money and other considerations to agree to intentionally lose to Richard Melito Jr."

The indictment does not name other specific instances of bribery or other alleged fixed fights, but does state that the conspiracy to bribe opponents for Melito began sometime around March 1995, and lasted through the fight on Aug. 12, 2000. It further alleges that the conspiracy took place "in Nevada and elsewhere."

Mitchell and Williams are charged with sports bribery and conspiracy to commit sports bribery. Both have pleaded not guilty, and are scheduled for trial in late August.

Mittleman is facing as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the sports bribery charge, and as much as 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the charge of bribing a public official.

Mittleman has been released on a personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to be sentenced July 26 before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jones.

There is no indication that this case is related to a Jan. 6 raid of Bob Arum's Top Rank Inc. offices in Las Vegas. No charges have been filed in connection with the the search warrant served on Arum as part of what FBI officials are calling an ongoing investigation.

During the raid, FBI agents served a search warrant at Top Rank, 3980 Howard Hughes Parkway, and seized computers, contracts and financial records from 2001 to the present.

The search warrant affidavit remains sealed, and officials with the FBI would not comment about the nature of the investigation except to say that agents are working with the New York City Police Department.

Arum, who lives in Las Vegas and is Top Rank's chairman, has promoted boxing matches since 1966. Some of the fighters he has promoted include Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. offices in Las Vegas.


Back to top