The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Tate George, a former New Jersey Nets guard and the CEO of purported real estate development firm The George Group, was indicted today on charges of running a $2 million Ponzi scheme that targeted ex-professional athletes.
According to The Chronicle, George – most remembered for his last-second, game-winning shot that sent UConn to the Elite 8 in the 1990 NCAA Championship Tournament – allegedly claimed to have more than $500 million in assets under management when he asked prospective investors, including several former professional athletes, to invest with his firm.
According to the indictment, the 43-year-old would tell investors their money would be used to fund real estate development projects throughout the region. Prosecutors added that George personally guaranteed a return on their investments, with interest.
“Instead of using investments to fund real estate development projects as promised, George used the money from new investors to pay existing investors in Ponzi scheme fashion,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.
Authorities allege that from 2005 to 2011, George deposited more than $2 million of investors’ funds in the firm’s and his personal bank accounts.
In addition to funding his Ponzi scheme, the former NBA player also used some of the money for home improvement projects, meals at restaurants, clothing and gas, authorities said, but the firm itself had virtually no income-generating operations.
Under the wire fraud counts with which he is charged, CBS News reports that C. Tate George faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.