by Brian Mahany
Three days ago I was in Bandera, Texas participating in my first “Cowboy Mardi Gras.” As a new Texas landowner and soon to be resident, it was fitting to begin spending time in my new hometown. (It was also 80 degrees while Milwaukee was a frigid 8!) Football is king in Texas and the Texas Longhorns are legendary. Unfortunately, one of their former star players is also a crook.
Normally, I would be more careful to say that someone was indicted and accused of criminal activity. Former NFL player and Longhorn star kicker Russell Erxleben is already a convicted felon. Now he is accused of new crimes including wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. He could spend his life behind bars if convicted.
Erxleben was previously convicted of a foreign currency trading scam that cost investors $28 million. He was just released from prison for his previous crime when prosecutors say that he began another investment scam, this one a Ponzi scheme. It appears that many of his victims invested because of his reputation in the athletic community.
Erxleben is best known for his record 67 yard filed goal while playing for the Longhorns. That he could kick a football, however, doesn’t make him a good business person or even an honest one. Unfortunately, many people are attracted to big names and famous people and falsely believe that because they are famous they must also be trustworthy. There is absolutely no correlation, however.
We call cases like this “affinity frauds.” In such cases, the fraudster targets and preys upon members of an identifiable group such as a particular religion, minority or foreign language. Sometimes the group is based on sports such as football fans. These frauds exploit the trust and camaraderie that exists when people have something in common.
Although Erxleben is accused of taking millions, finding money for the victims may be difficult. Press reports say that he is being represented by a public defender. That means in order to qualify for free legal help, he first had to demonstrate his poverty.
Fraud and asset recovery is a narrow speciality within the practice of law. While there are thousands of collections lawyers within the United States, fraud lawyers specialize in finding hidden money and identifying other persons who may be responsible for aiding and abetting the fraudster. Anyone can obtain a judgment but it often takes an asset recovery lawyer to collect on the judgment.
If you lost your money to any type of scam or affinity fraud – an abusive tax shelter, 419 welfare benefit plan, stockbroker fraud or even a famous football player or celebrity, give us a call. We have successfully pursued fraudsters across the United States and even offshore. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are protected by the attorney client privilege and kept in confidence.
MahanyLaw – America’s Fraud Recovery Lawyers. Fraud recovery available in many jurisdictions.
Need more information? Our Due Diligence blog has a search engine located in the upper right hand corner. For more information on specific fraud topics, just type in the key words “Ponzi scheme” or “affinity fraud” in the search bar. We have many informative articles on our site.
UPDATE: See our Celebrity Fraud information page for more information about schemes by or against celebrities including an update on Russell Erxleben.