NFL And MLB Athletes Victim Of $30M Fraud

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NFL And MLB Athletes Victim Of $30M Fraud

Three professional athletes–Denver Broncos’ quarterback Mark Sanchez, San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Jake Peavy, and former major league pitcher Roy Oswalt–are the victims of an alleged Ponzi-like scheme operated by an investment adviser who appealed to their Christianity. According to the SEC the three were conned out of roughly $30 million. The SEC has filed suit in Dallas federal court.

Ash Narayan, formerly of RGT Capital Management, gained the trust of the athletes through religion and their interest in charitable works, the SEC said. The agency also claims that Narayan hid many conflicts of interest from his investors. He directed the athletes’ cash to The Ticket Reserve Inc., which allows fans to reserve face-value tickets to sporting events where the teams have yet to be determined. Narayan was on the company’s board of directors, owned over three million shares, and was its primary fundraiser, raising over 90% of the company’s investment capital.

Each of the athletes wanted low-risk, conservative investment strategies, according to the SEC. Narayan failed to follow these instructions and rather invested in TTR even as the company’s financial conditions were in disarray. TTR’s chief executive officer wrote to Mr. Narayan in a May 2014 email that “To be sure our revenue sucks. Our balance sheet is a disaster.”

“Narayan exploited athletes and other clients who trusted him to manage their finances. He fraudulently funneled their savings into a money-losing business and his own pocket,” said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, head of the SEC’s Fort Worth office.

In mid-2011, Sanchez agreed to make a $100,000 investment in TTR. Instead, Narayan forged documents and directed more than $7 million of Sanchez’s money to the ticket company, the SEC said. In total, Narayan transferred more than $33 million from all investors to TTR, earning almost $2 million in hidden compensation.

The vast majority of Peavy’s personal wealth — about $15 million — was invested in the ticket company without his authorization, he said. Mark Loretta, then a teammate of Peavy on the San Diego Padres, introduced him to Narayan around 2004-2005. Peavy, now on the the San Francisco Giants, said he trusted Narayan because he was a certified public accountant, which was not true, and because he was very involved in charitable causes including churches overseas. Peavy said he last spoke with Narayan in March, and was promised he would get all his money back. He said he is yet to receive any of the funds used to invest in TTR.

Oswalt, who retired in 2014 after spending most of his career with the Houston Astros, met Narayan around 2002-2003. At one point, about 80 percent of Oswalt’s major league salary was directed to the investment account. Narayan invested at least $7 million of Oswalt’s money into TTR, without his authorization, according to the complaint.

If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of an investment or Ponzi scheme, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.

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