Lets be honest. Who would have thought they’d see the words “NBA player” and “ran a ponzi scheme” in the same sentence?
Tate George, a former player with the National Basketball Association’s New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, was charged with running a $2 million Ponzi scheme that targeted former professional athletes.
George, 43, raised more than $2 million for his company, The George Group, after telling investors his real-estate development portfolio was worth $500 million, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint charging him with wire fraud.
“In reality, The George Group had virtually no income generating operations,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.
George used the money he raised to pay early investors in his company and to fund living expenses such as mortgage and child-support payments, restaurant meals, clothing and gas, according to the FBI complaint. George surrendered to the FBI today and is scheduled to appear this afternoon in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.
George faces as many as 20 years in prison for the scheme, which prosecutors said ran from 2005 to March. His attorney, Thomas Ashley, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
One investor, identified in the complaint as B.K., transferred $300,000 in July 2007 for what George said was a real estate project in East Orange, New Jersey, according to the complaint. George promised that he would pay the investor $18,000 in interest by the next January, the FBI said.
George was questioned under oath on March 10 about B.K.’s investment and “falsely testified that he had spent the entirety of B.K.’s $300,000 on the purported real estate project,” the FBI said.
George attended the University of Connecticut, where he hit the game-winning shot against Clemson University in the third round of the 1990 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. With one second remaining and Connecticut trailing by one, George caught a full-court inbounds pass from teammate Scott Burrell, spun around and hit a 15-foot jump shot as time expired.
He was selected by the Nets with the No. 22 pick in the 1990 NBA draft. In a four-year career, George averaged 4.2 points and 1.8 assists a game.
The case is U.S. v. George, 11-mag-03197, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).
Source: Bloomberg News