Shane Heal cleared of match fixing allegations
Earlier in the year it was reported that Australian basketball legend and one-time NBA player, Shane Heal, was under investigation in relation to suspicious betting activity on a WNBL (Women’s National Basketball League) match in which he was coaching.
For those not familiar with the story, Queensland Police had begun investigating the former Australian Boomers Captain about allegations of match fixing. The game in question was between the South East Queensland Stars (for whom was Heal was coaching) and Sydney University.
Image: Luke Marsden
The allegations surrounded a bet of $600, made by a third party, that Heal’s team would beat the Sydney team by a margin of 10 points or under, which they subsequently did, running out 8 point winners. For Heal, a former basketball great, the amount seems almost trivial. Whilst it’s not such a large amount for bookmakers to accept, the potential ramifications of the bet are significant; it would place Heal’s reputation and career at stake. It seems like a very high-risk strategy for a relatively low dividend, and there is absolutely no suggestion by us that these accusations are in anyway true. Lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Heal stated any allegations of match fixing were “strenuously denied”.
Looking at the matter hypothetically, although it’s not impossible that it could occur, for any high profile coach to bet on their own team, risking it all for at most a few thousand dollars seems inconceivable. That said, there must have been some unusual betting activity for the matter to be raised, after all, we wouldn’t imagine that the WNBL would see high turnover figures.
It had been reported that Shane Heal himself was betting on the team that he was coach and director of, however, our own investigations indicate that the allegations are far more convoluted. It was alleged the person that placed the bet had a complicated connection with Heal, via an association with the chairman of the SEQ Stars, Jarrod Sierocki. It is believed Sierocki is a business partner of Heal. Sierocki also owns a Brisbane based company named Insolvency Guardian, which reportedly assisted Heal when he declared bankruptcy some years ago.
The bet was reported to have been placed by an employee of Insolvency Guardian, but it has not yet clear how this information was determined, and if this knowledge has been substantiated.
No stranger to controversy, the former Sydney Kings basketball player turned Gold Coast businessman filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after the collapse of his Gold Coast business and real estate empire. The business suffered difficulties due to licensing issues from US parent companies of the franchises that it was operating.
A 6-month investigation into the match fixing allegations, has revealed that Shane Heal had involvement in the suspicious betting activity. Heal has been cleared of any wrongdoing. In fact, no charges were laid against anyone after the Organised Crime Investigation Unit found there were no grounds for suspicion.
Understandably upset, Heal’s response to the findings was one of dismay “It’s unbelievable that someone can just say something outrageous like this about you without even the slightest bit of truth to it…Now that I have been officially cleared, I will look at what options are available to me to within our legal system to keep anyone accountable that has made, amplified or by their actions in anyway legitimised these false accusations that have tarnished my reputation.”
The matter now appears to be finally over for Heal, however the South East Queensland Stars club has not been so lucky. The WNBL team have since closed down, after their first and only season in the league. The club faced financial difficulties 6 months into their first year, which also indirectly lead to Heal’s position as coach being terminated. Perhaps Heal can use his spare time to focus his efforts on managing some fantasy sports games?