1. NFL wide receiver Joshua Bellamy
Bellamy was arrested Sept. 10 and charged for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, with he himself receiving $1.2 million, according to the U.S. Justice Department. In a
criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the former New York Jets player and current free agent was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, attempt and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, according to court documents.
(Photo: Getty Images)
2. Ex-NFL linebacker Merrill Robertson Jr.
Robertson was sentenced to 40 years in prison in January related to a $10 million fraud scheme. His criminal behavior cost 63 investors — many who knew him personally — some $9 million.
A jury convicted Robertson in October of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. The former linebacker — who played briefly for the Philadelphia Eagles and also for the University of Virginia — targeted family, friends, coaches, teammates, churchgoers and a Sunday school teacher.
3. NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks
Kendricks, a free agent who last played for the Seattle Seahawks, was
charged by the SEC with insider trading. The SEC
complaint, filed Aug. 29, 2018, alleged Kendricks received illegal tips from co-defendant Damilare Sonoiki, an analyst at an investment bank at the time, about several upcoming corporate mergers. The SEC alleged Kendricks traded on that information for a profit of about $1.2 million. His sentencing date has been delayed multiple times and is currently scheduled to take place Oct. 14 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, according to court documents. With the NFL season underway, he remains a free agent.
(Photo: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
4. Ex-NBA forward Chuck Person
Person, a former NBA star and associate head coach at Auburn University, was among 10 coaches, managers, financial advisors and representatives of sportswear companies charged by federal prosecutors in a
2017 NCAA bribery scandal. He and the others were accused of making illicit payoffs to steer young athletes to powerhouse schools and into clothing contracts and financial advisory deals. As part of a
plea agreement in March 2019, Person pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and was to receive 24 to 30 months in prison. However, he wound up avoiding prison and was
sentenced by Judge Loretta Preska to community service during two years of supervised release.
5. Ex-NFL wide receiver Willie Gault
In April 2016, Gault, who had played for the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Raiders, was
ordered to pay a total of $206,570. He had been accused of taking part in a securities fraud scheme that inflated the share prices of Heart Tronics, a medical device company he was co-CEO of before resigning.
(Photo: Redlight Traffic’s Inaugural Dignity Gala: 2013)
6. Ex-NFL cornerback Will D. Allen
The SEC in 2015 charged former NFL cornerback Allen and a partner with fraud and froze their assets after uncovering a Ponzi scheme that raised $31 million from at least 40 investors but only paid out some $20 million. Allen, who played for the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, co-owned Capital Financial Partners, which made loans of roughly $18 million to pro athletes who were short of cash (during the off seasons) between July 2012 and February 2015. In 2017, he was sentenced to serve six years in prison and three years of supervised release, and also ordered to pay restitution of about $16.8 million, court documents show.
7. Pro boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The SEC in 2018 settled charges against pro boxer Mayweather and music producer Khaled Khaled, known as DJ Khaled, who had both been accused of failing to disclose payments they received for promoting investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs). They were the first defendants to be charged by the SEC with ICO promotion violations. The
SEC’s order against Mayweather found the boxer failed to disclose promotional payments from three ICO issuers, including $100,000 from Centra Tech Inc.
8. Former NFL wide receiver Augustine Olobia
Olobia, a former Washington State football player who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1992, was sentenced in 2019 to one year in prison for a kickback scheme that prosecutors said defrauded his employer at the time, Capital One-owned online brokerage ShareBuilder, of $1.5 million. Olobia pleaded guilty to wire fraud, admitting he took payments for falsifying data on account referrals from a third-party vendor while working at ShareBuilder in Seattle from 1999 to 2013.
9. Ex-NFL punter Joseph Prokop
Former NFL player Prokop, who punted for seven seasons with NFL teams including the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and New York Jets, was sentenced to prison in 2015 for his role in the promotion of a fraudulent tax product,
the U.S. Justice Department said. After a six-week jury trial one year earlier, he and two other defendants were convicted of defrauding the U.S., aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns and mail fraud. Prokop was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison to be followed by 30 months home confinement and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay more than $35 million in restitution to victims and a $1,800 special assessment.
National Football League wide receiver Joshua Bellamy’s recent arrest for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent applications seeking more than $24 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans represented just the latest example of a professional athlete being linked to securities fraud or other financial offenses.
One of the most infamous cases in recent years was the fall from grace of ex-Major League Baseball great Lenny Dykstra, who went from a World Series champion on the 1986 New York Mets to pleading guilty in 2012 to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering.
Dykstra, who was known by the nickname “Nails” during his baseball career, remade himself as a financial advisor before being arrested multiple times after his retirement from baseball, including in 2011 for the charges he ended up pleading guilty to one year later.
On the other side of the coin, many athletes have been victimized in financial scams.
Check out the gallery above for nine cases of pro athletes being linked to securities fraud and other financial misdeeds in the past five years.
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