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Ex-NBA Basketball Player Charged in $2 Million Ponzi Scheme

Crime

He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted

Tate George, a former basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Jersey Nets, has turned himself in to the FBI on charges of defrauding investors of $2 million in a ponzi scheme, according to the Hartford Courant.

Between 2005 and 2011, Tate George, who is best known for having played for UCONN between 1986 and 1990, secured $2 million that he said was going toward real estate investments.

Instead, he deposited some of the money in his personal bank account, and used the rest to repay more senior investors, reports Business Insider.

George's attorney, Thomas Ashley, says that his client is innocent of the charges and they plan to plead not guilty.

The Associated Press reports:

Prosecutors claim that between 2005 and March 2011, George persuaded people — including former professional athletes — to invest in what he promised would be high-return real estate development projects in Florida, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey. He claimed to be managing a real estate portfolio of more than $500 million in assets as CEO of The George Group and personally guaranteed people returns on their investments, plus interest, according to prosecutors.

George instead used some of the new investor money to make principal and interest payments to existing investors, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. He also used the money for improvements on his home and personal expenses including gas, restaurant meals and clothing, Fishman said.

Bail was set at $250,000, secured by a property bond signed by George's mother, who was in court with other family members.

He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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