Several prominent athletes, including a newly-minted gold medalist member of the U.S. Olympic Soccer Team, have sued their former financial advisor and his employer, SunTrust Bank ("SunTrust"), alleging that they were unwitting investors in several Ponzi schemes that ultimately resulted in millions of dollars of losses. Several National Football League players, including St. Louis Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley and his wife, U.S. Olympic soccer team player Heather Mitts, were listed as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Suntrust and financial advisor William Crafton, Jr. In the suit, the plaintiffs alleged that, rather than make conservative investments, Crafton invested the plaintiffs' funds into several high-risk investments, including at least one Ponzi scheme, that resulted in a loss of millions of dollars.
According to the complaint, Crafton began soliciting his NFL clients while he was a registered investment advisor with CSI Capital Management ("CSI") in 2003. Playing to the short and uncertain nature of the career of a professional athlete, Crafton represented that he would employ a very conservative and low-risk strategy with the principal strategy of conserving underlying principal. Beginning with Brandon Whitting, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, Crafton began signing up various NFL players, including Brent Celek, Kevin Curtis, and Whitting's roomate, A.J. Feeley. Additionally, Feeley's wife, recent U.S. Olympic soccer gold medalist team member Heather Mitts, also became a client. All told, the complaint alleges that Crafton ultimately provided financial advisory services to at least 20 other professional athletes, whom Crafton referred to as his "roster".
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For more news and analysis of Ponzi schemes, visit Ponzitracker, a blog by Jordan Maglich, an attorney at Wiand Guerra King P.L.
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