Forte Sentenced to Probation for Fraud Charges

Chet Forte, longtime director of ABC's "Monday Night Football" who is now is sports-talk show host at XTRA in San Diego, was sentenced Friday to five years' probation for fraud charges linked to gambling.

"I will never forget this date," said Forte, 56, who was an All-American basketball player for Columbia University during the 1956-57 season.

Forte pleaded guilty in September of 1990 to mail and wire fraud and income-tax charges, and admitted defrauding $100,000 from a New Jersey businessman to support his compulsive gambling habit. He faced as many as 11 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Rodriguez ordered Forte to perform 400 hours of community service and to make restitution to the businessman and pay $39,000 in back federal taxes.

"Compulsive gambling can never justify an offense and it's not an excuse," the judge told Forte. "But I do believe you have the conviction to benefit society."

Forte has been undergoing treatment through Gamblers Anonymous and counsels addicted bettors.

His legal problems stem from gambling that began in the early 1960s. He bet on sports and at casino gaming tables and lost about $4 million over the years.

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