That same year, the NCAA handed down some of the most severe disciplinary actions ever imposed on a university when it found that former USC running back Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo had accepted improper gifts from outside sports marketers and agents between 2006 and 2008. The football team has just completed a two-year ban from postseason play and the university remains on probation.
So far, Schenter, 49, is the only person charged by the district attorney's office in the ongoing criminal probe. He has pleaded not guilty to 60 counts of falsifying records and is free on bail. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
In response to a request from The Times, the assessor's office released copies of hundreds of Schenter's work emails, including attachments, that contain rich detail about Schenter's mostly after-hours efforts as an entrepreneur.
A September 2010 email Schenter sent from one of his private business accounts to his work address had an attachment titled "Proposed 2008 Adjustments to Income" that names Jefferson and McKnight as people who received payments.
A second attachment, "2008 IRS Business Deductions," lists 12 payments totaling $3,730 to "Davon" or "DJ." Jefferson is the only person on the list of payees with those initials.
Also listed are 36 payments worth $30,460 to "Joe." It's unclear whether any of those payments were meant for the football player because, according to the email, there are two potential recipients with that first name, McKnight and Joe Galliani, one of Schenter's business associates. Galliani did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
There are no emails from Jefferson, McKnight or anyone other than Schenter that would confirm he actually made the payments.
In other emails, Schenter describes efforts to sell companies glowing, animated versions of their logos to be used in advertising. Among examples of the animations contained in the emails are flashing images of McKnight running with a football and celebrating with USC teammates.
Schenter also discusses how he hoped to use the USC athletes to help market his products.
In a few messages, he wrote about his plans to build sports-themed vans equipped with hot tubs to promote his business. "I am just finishing a USC Basketball Bus ... because I have direct access to a couple of the players (nothing on paper)," Schenter wrote in one attachment.
He went on to say he intended to wrap the bus in gigantic posters of Jefferson and Mayo and noted that USC had told him he could not. But he wasn't deterred.
Schenter joked that USC stood for "Under Scott's Control" and bragged that the school could not stop him.
"What are they going to do to me?" he asked. "Will the NCAA fine me (yeah right)?"
Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.