Art Schlichter

  • Art Schlichter was once a first-round draft pick from the Ohio State Buckeyes in the early 1980s with the world at his feet, until his gambling threw a promising career away.
  • Long after his NFL career end, he continued to gamble on sports and new evidence suggests he’s been doing the same thing while in prison for stealing money from people to gamble with.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former NFL quarterback for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, 1982 first-round draft pick Art Schlichter, has continued to gamble on sports during his time in prison.

In May 2012, Schlichter was sentenced to ten years and seven months in prison in Colorado for defrauding millions of dollars from people by “selling” them football tickets they never received. He also was handed down a ten-year sentence in Ohio that would be served together.

Prosecutors would later call what the former athlete did the “million-dollar sports ticket scheme.”

Upon obtaining the money from people looking for tickets, Schlichter would then use it to gamble on sports and pay off outstanding debts that were a result of his gambling losses.

After over eight years behind bars and a month shy from being paroled, Schlichter has now been caught wagering on sports while incarcerated by sending female acquaintances out to do his betting.

The Allegations

Ron O’Brien, a prosecutor from Franklin County in Ohio has stated in Federal documents that Schlichter has continued gambling and his prison time has left him unchanged.

“He is a career criminal and he has stolen from people forever,” said O’Brien. “He has not engaged in good behavior,” said O’Brien. “He claims to be a gambling addict, which I believe to be true. He has continued to gamble in federal prison using some female acquaintances of his outside the prison.”

According to O’Brien, the former NFL quarterback has managed to fly under the radar because he is calculated in the way he handles business.

Every criminal is issued a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that they must use when placing calls to the outside. Schlichter was aware of this and began to use other prisoners’ PIN numbers to call women and direct them on what bets he wanted to be made for him.

The new allegations against him will be heard on August 5 in a Franklin County courthouse.

Should the judge assigned to the case be convinced that Schlichter is clear of any wrongdoing, he will be released from prison on August 18. However, if the judge is convinced of his continued illegal gambling, then the former athlete will need to serve the remainder of his sentence which would be a little over a year and a half of time.

Schlichter’s attorneys argue that the 60-year-old has paid his debt to society and is at high risk to contract the Coronavirus being an older Diabetic with CTE from years of playing football.

Whether or not he is released from prison early is only one issue as O’Brien believes that Schlichter’s victims should receive restitution being that he stole $2.2 million in total from them. The NFL has paid him almost $700,000 in money from a national case for pro football players having issues from concussions sustained while playing the game.

O’Brien thinks that should be a start for repaying his debt to his victims.

Arguing the case back in 2012, the prosecutor made it clear that a minimum of ten years needed to be served before Schlichter could be released. There was no leg room on that stipulation within the deal that was made.

Yet, a little over eight years later and the prisoner is set to be released, ruffling the feathers of O’Brien and all of those in Ohio affected by the case.

“He is worried about getting sick in prison and staying there the rest of his life if he is not released,”  said Stephen Palmer, the defense attorney. “He hasn’t made any friends in the criminal justice system. My job is to make sure people don’t get more than what they deserve.”

What’s Next?

The evidence against Schlichter continuing to gamble on sports is damning. Prisons listen to inmates’ phone calls like those that were made by Schlichter to women that were using legal sports betting platforms on his behalf.

Should for some reason the judge decide to release him in August, he will not have served his non-negotiable ten-year sentence for Ohio, a deal he agreed to in 2012.

Given his history, this would not be out of character for him and could be added to the list of deals that Schlichter is notorious for reneging on.

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