Boxing promoter Greg Cohen was due to report to prison on Jan. 22, after pleading guilty to wire fraud at the US District Court, Southern District.
But the Livingston, New Jersey resident — who holds a portion of promotional rights to heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and boasts a good-sized stable of talent (see the full GCP roster here) — has been granted extra time before he serves a six month sentence.
Cohen, who has worked with notable pugilists like Hasim Rahman and ex-middleweight titlist Rob Brant, will serve time and then be on probation for three years. He will also need to perform 150 hours of community service, preferably assisting victims of financial crimes.
The terms of oversight are strict — the 50-year-old Cohen must comply with terms of his probation in order to open a line of credit. He also must participate in an outpatient mental health program.
Cohen didn’t answer a message left for him, asking him about the changed status of his report date, and asking at which facility he will serve his time.
On Jan. 17, Cohen’s legal team asked the court to allow Cohen to report to serve his sentence on Feb. 17, because, it was asserted, Cohen hadn’t received his assignment as to what facility he’d be residing for the six-month stint. The court replied that Cohen could get extra time before reporting, but not as much as requested. Cohen must report to his designated penal institution on Feb. 7.
The feds asserted that Cohen, between (on or about) Apr. 2017 to (on or about) Dec. 2017, schemed to defraud a victim, by getting an unnamed man to invest in a supposed stock transaction. Cohen told the mark that an investment manager would handle the deal, and guaranteed the man an eye-popping return. He said he’d have skin in the game, and would invest $450,000 in this can’t-miss endeavor. The man blew the whistle when he became suspicious, and, it turns out, the money manager Cohen mentioned knew nothing about any such investment.
The boxing deal-maker said that he and the money manager had succeeded about 80 times in obtaining restricted stock from a company, before the stock was made available to the general public. The stock price would appreciate heavily once shares were released for purchase to the masses, Cohen told the victim. The duped investor liked the sound of the deal, so he wired Cohen $200,000. The fight game fixture said it would take about three months for the supposed ship to come in. In Nov. 2017, the man grew tired of Cohen’s explanations and excuses, and reached out to the firm where the wizard of a money manager worked, according to Cohen. The money manager’s attorney informed the victim that he had no knowledge of the deal Cohen had dangled.
That attorney tried to learn the truth of the matter and reached out to Cohen. The promoter said that he was about to undergo an unspecified surgery, and then, days later, he told the attorney that he was sedated, on morphine. A few days later, when asked to shed light on the supposed deal, he told the attorney he was back in the hospital, due to complications from his alleged surgery. The money manager’s attorney then contacted law enforcement. Soon after, an arrest warrant for Cohen was issued.
A 2018 suit filed by Cliff Mass, who worked for Cohen, is still pending. Mass asserts that he invested heavily into Cohen’s promotional company, and was promised by Cohen that his investment would pay dividends. The promoter, he alleges to the court, didn’t make good on his promises, and so Mass is seeking to have the court compel Cohen to pay up. The promoter is slated to be deposed by Mass’ legal counsel in June, per court records.
More than a few boxers contacted after news broke in late Nov. 2019 that Cohen had been busted for wire fraud stated that their dealings with him had been unsatisfactory. Tony Luis and Austin Trout shared their negative assessments of Cohen’s handling of their career, while Samuel Clarkson, Lateef Kayode, and TV producer Mark Fratto resorted to court actions to get Cohen to pay what he owed them. A fellow promoter, Keith Veltre, also had to drag Cohen to court to collect money fronted, so a co-promoted fight night could transpire.
Boxing is one of those businesses which enjoys some similarities with the traveling circus. The show must always go on. Fighters, like Cem Killic, a 25-year-old German-born California resident signed to Greg Cohen Promotions, have reached out and asked about their status with GCP; Kilic specifically did so before his Jan. 11 super middleweight showdown with Steven Nelson in Atlantic City. The answer?
“They told me that his assistants would take care of it,” Killic said, “and he would make sure everything is good before any stuff happens, like you heard, before he goes on vacation for a little while. So, that’s what they said, and what I’m counting on.”