A former Philadelphia Eagles football player has been charged with defrauding senior citizens, as well as football coaches and fans, out of millions of dollars, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday.
Merrill Robertson Jr., who also played for the University of Virginia and the Fork Union (Virginia) Military Academy, is charged with defrauding unsophisticated, elderly investors as well as coaches and alumni from his college and high school football days, the SEC says.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia has filed criminal charges against Robertson in connection with the scheme.
Robertson, 36, and Sherman C. Vaughn, both of Chesterfield, Va., and the company they co-owned, Cavalier Union Investments LLC, are the defendants in the complaint filed in federal court in Richmond, Va. The defendants promised to invest in diversified holdings but diverted nearly $6 million of the more than $10 million they raised from more than 60 investors to pay for personal expenses and used other funds to repay earlier investors, according to the complaint.
The pair allegedly lied about the unregistered debt securities they sold, saying they would yield as much as 20 percent profit while providing safety and security for investors, the SEC says. The defendants claimed that Cavalier had investment funds operated by experienced investment advisors when it did not have any funds or investment advisors and was functionally insolvent shortly after it was formed, the SEC says.
The complaint says that Cavalier’s only investments were in restaurants that had all failed by 2014, something the defendants never disclosed as they continued soliciting and accepting investors’ money
“Our complaint alleges that Robertson and Vaughn preyed on elderly victims and others who placed their trust in these individuals, only to have their savings stolen,” says Sharon B. Binger, director of the SEC’s Philadelphia Regional Office.