With ‘Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul’ delving deep into the way the 2007 NBA betting scandal played out, we get an insight into not just the individuals involved but also gambling as a concept. That’s because this Netflix original documentary features first-hand accounts to elucidate precisely how and why once-renowned NBA referee Timothy “Tim” Donaghy staked on his own games. Among those to share their tale is thus his co-conspirator James “Jimmy” Battista — so now, if you wish to learn more about him as well as his current standing, we’ve got all the details for you.
Who is James “Jimmy” Battista?
Although Jimmy first came across Tim while they were both attending Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, it wasn’t until years later that they even became acquaintances. By this point, the latter was an NBA official, whereas the former had established himself as a professional gambler under several nicknames, including “Bah-Bah” (or “Baba”) and “The Sheep.” It was actually allegedly his extremely strict, god-fearing family that drove him to rebel a little in his younger days, only for him to end up getting mixed with the wrong crowd, as per the production.
“I graduated high school by the skin of my teeth ’cause I didn’t give a f**k,” Jimmy admitted in ‘Untold,’ before adding he saw a drastically different life once he began working as a waiter locally. Everything from drugs to money to gambling was prevalent in the area he served, which ultimately kickstarted his love affair with the latter as well — he actually grew into a thriving bookmaker. “I had a good personality to get information out of people on a one-to-one basis [no matter the league],” the then-member of The Animals syndicate said, explaining the reason behind his success.
However, when Jimmy had a falling out with the betting institution around 2006, he decided to approach Tim through their mutual school friend Thomas “Tommy” Martino with a lucrative idea. He already knew of the NBA referee’s gambling issue owing to his profession, and they soon somehow agreed to work together for some extra cash — Tim would give him picks, and he’d run with it. The accounts of their actual meeting vary, yet the one thing Jimmy did not shy away from conceding was that while Tim made $2,000 per successful bet initially, he made at least $2 million. Moreover, it was indicated he made $20 to $30 million in total for the mob families.
Where is James “Jimmy” Battista Now?
Once Tim, Jimmy, and Tommy’s betting scheme came to light in 2007, the professional gambler was the only one who refused to speak or cooperate with the FBI in any way, shape, or form. He was ready to face trial for up to 25 years in prison in the hopes of having the most severe charges against him dropped, but the prosecutors eventually came through with a deal. Instead of fraud, wire fraud, and illegal gambling, Jimmy was only convicted of the latter; one count of conspiracy to transmit wagering, following a guilty plea. He was thus sentenced to 15 months in a federal facility.
From what we can tell, since his release from the Metropolitan Detention Center-Brooklyn in New York, James “Jimmy” Battista has returned to his home state of Pennsylvania, where he leads a relatively private life. He knows what he did was wrong, takes full responsibility for every action, and seems to have genuine regret, which indicates he’s not actively into gambling anymore, but we can not be 100% certain. The one thing we do know for sure, though, is he has a family and children, so he might just be focusing on caring for and spending quality time with them these days.