Sam Adams made a name for himself on the NFL gridiron, but now state prosecutors in Washington say the former All-Pro has a reputation of a different kind — as a tax evader.
Prosecutors allege that Adams stole more than $522,000 by failing to pay about a dozen of his employees and failing to pay Washington state taxes.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that Adams and his chief financial officer, Dana Lynn Sargent, are being charged with multiple counts of wage theft and tax evasion for fitness clubs Adams operated in Seattle and Tacoma.
“If you cheat the workers and the state, my office will hold you accountable,” Ferguson said when announcing the charges.
An affidavit claims that Sam Adams withheld $41,000 in pay and benefits from 12 of his employees. Adams also failed to pay the state about $35,000 in unemployment insurance, the court document claims.
The theft left Adams’ employees “losing their housing, being unable to pay household bills, being unable to buy Christmas gifts and accruing thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills for themselves and their families,” the affidavit states.
Adams was contacted by the Associated Press on Friday, but said he did not know about the charges and could not immediately comment.
Sam Adams was the eighth overall pick of the 1994 NFL draft, playing for half a dozen teams. He made the Pro Bowl as a member of the Seattle Seahawks in 1997, and was named the team’s “Man of the Year” in 1998 for his charitable contributions.
Adams remained active in the Seattle area after his career ended, often showing up at games. In 2012, he raised the “12th Man” flag during a Sunday Night Football game against the San Francisco 49ers. Adams is the son of Sam Adams, Sr., who played for the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
Sam Adams faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.