Many Virginia residents are familiar with the career path of football player Merrill Robertson Jr. The 36-year-old once played for the University of Virginia and went on play for the NFL. He is now accused of federal crimes in relation to an investment company that he owns with a partner.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Robertson with defrauding investors. Through his company, he allegedly promised to invest his clients' money in diversified holdings to seek maximum returns. Instead, the SEC asserts that he diverted between $6 million to cover the cost of personal expenses and to pay back early investors.
According to the SEC, the investment company promised clients that their money would be managed by advisers who were experienced in diversified investments, but the company did not employ investment advisers. It is also believed that the company was insolvent within a very short period of time after it was formed. It is alleged that the company's owners intentionally misled investors about the state of the company and continued to solicit investors long after the company was in serious financial turmoil. Furthermore, the SEC claims that the partners intentionally preyed on elderly persons and depleted their savings.
Robertson and his business partner are charged with the federal crimes of violating the antifraud provisions and registration provisions of federal securities laws. Should the former University of Virginia football player be unable to avoid conviction, he could face civil penalties as well as be forced return of a portion of the profits earned from his company. The investigation into the matter is ongoing.
Source: nbc29.com, "Former UVA Player Charged in Fraud Case", Aug. 10, 2016