Several of you have pointed out this link, so I figured I'd drop it in here on the front page so more folks can see it. Yahoo! and others are reporting that Frank Gore, Ray Lewis and Santonio Holmes are part of a group of 16 players suing North Carolina-based bank BB&T over investment losses. The 16 players are suing the bank for approximately $60 million.
The losses are centered around dealings with former financial adviser Jeff Rubin and Pro Sports Financial. Rubin and his employees opened accounts with BB&T in the names of these players, and used the money for what are described as "dubious, unauthorized investments." The lawsuit is against BB&T because the players believe the bank ignored red flags in doing business with Rubin and his company.
You can read the full lawsuit HERE (PDF). The players allege, among other things, the company opened accounts in the players' names using signature cards that had forged signatures. The players allege the bank allowed multiple "suspicious and extraordinary" withdrawals, and that BB&T had "actual knowledge that certain transactions on the Plaintiffs' accounts were unauthorized and exceeded the scope of the Plaintiffs' Client Service Agreements with Pro Sports."
Plenty of players lost significant money in it, and it appears Gore tops the list in the lawsuit.
According to the document, $8,745,000 According to an amended complaint I recently received, $1,600,000 was transferred out of an account opened in Frank Gore's name "for an illegitimate purpose and without his knowledge and/or informed consent." The Yahoo! report lists it as a complete loss, but the lawsuit does not specifically state that he did not get any of that money back. I'm assuming he didn't, but I just wanted to clarify that.
Frank Gore has made quite a bit of money through his NFL career, but this shows how easy it is for things to slip away. ESPN ran a great 30 for 30 called "Broke", and this is exactly the kind of issue that can come up with athletes. We hear plenty about family and "friends" wanting support from newly rich athletes, but they are also potential victims of significant scams.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor was caught up in this, and he had some interesting comments on the issue:
"I haven't wanted to talk about this because people almost try to put you in a shell of 'the dumb jock' and now you're a victim. I was always afraid to open my mouth about it. But in my mind, at this point, I'm in a position where I've been taken advantage of and I want to shed some light on how these things can happen because I don't want it to happen to any other guys. I can be one of those people to shed light on it and try to keep players from being taken advantage of in the future."
I have to imagine when this happens, it is easy for a player to be embarrassed by the situation, and just want it to go away. But this happens way too easily, and players need to be wary of it. And really everybody needs to be wary of scams. Whether you're crazy rich, or in the poor house, there are awful human beings out there searching for victims upon which to prey.
It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out. The lawsuit is simply a list of allegations, so we don't know yet what kind of evidence they have, and whether or not they have some kind of smoking gun against BB&T. If they have anything at all, this could very well end up in a settlement. This is something I definitely want to keep my eye on.