by Brian Mahany
Ponzi schemes are a dime a dozen these days. It’s been 2 years since the Bernie Madoff scandal rocked the world yet people still become victims of investment fraud every day. Most of us believe that people are inherently good. Sure, we may be a bit more skeptical these days but if the person seeking our money goes to our church or is very successful than they must be legitimate, right? Apparently we also trust people if they are a famous and well known sports star too.
Former NBA player Tate George was arrested and charged with running a $2 million dollar Ponzi scheme. According to a complaint filed in a Newark, New Jersey federal court, George is charged with federal wire fraud.
According to prosecutors, George ran a real estate development business called the George Group. From 2005 until this year, he solicited money from investors by promising the money would be used to fund real estate deals in New Jersey, Florida, Illinois and Connecticut. The money went into his pocket instead.
Although the complaint remains sealed, a press report published in nj.com says that George was previously sued by another NBA player, Brevin Knight, for breach of contract. Knight won a $450,000 judgment against George and ultimately obtained an arrest warrant in January of this year after George refused to appear or cooperate in post judgment procedures.
Apparently the unpaid judgment is now the least of George’s problems. If convicted of the new criminal charges he faces 20 years in prison.
George was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round of the 1990 NBA draft. That was the same year he propelled UCONN to a NCAA championship victory with a final second, buzzer shot to win against Clemson. Back then, fans adored him.
Some of the victims in the current Ponzi scheme case are other former basketball players. It is quite common for fraudsters to exploit victims in which they have an affinity. In this case, George’s victims probably invested because they knew of his record as a basketball player, not as a money manager or real estate developer.
These so called “affinity frauds” are very common. These scams exploit the trust that exists in tightly knit communities or groups that share a common bond or interest.
If you are the victim of an affinity fraud, Ponzi scheme, investment fraud or similar crime, give us a call. Our fraud and asset recovery lawyers have helped people around the country get back their hard earned money. For a confidential consultation, contact attorney Brian Mahany at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or by email at
Mahany & Ertl, LLC – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan & Portland, Maine. Services available in many states.