An advisor who managed investments for the NBA players union was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday for trying to steal millions in union money.
Joseph Lombardo, 73, of Gates Mills, Ohio, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice in U.S. District Court in New York City, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced.
Lombardo, founder and CEO of Prim Capital Corporation, which managed as much as $250 million in investments for the National Basketball Players Association, tried to steal millions from the union and then tried to cover up the crime by forging a contract and lying to a grand jury, according to prosecutors.
“Not only did Joseph Lombardo attempt to steal millions of dollars from the [NBPA], he then tried to cover it up by creating an entirely fake agreement and asking others to lie for him under oath. Today’s sentence closes out Lombardo’s season of scam,” Bharara said.
From 2001 until 2013, Prim was the primary outside investment advisory firm entrusted with the NBPA’s investments and finances. The firm's duties included assisting with the management of up to $250 million of the NBPA’s assets, reviewing the investments of individual NBA players and conducting financial seminars for NBA players, the U.S. attorney said.
During the grand jury investigation, Prim produced a copy of a contract that was supposedly signed by Gary Hall, former NBPA general counsel. It was revealed that Hall’s signature was forged and the contract was actually created at Prim after Hall’s death. The fake contract included a provision that it could not be canceled by the NBPA for any reason.
Lombardo also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and a $200 special assessment.
Carolyn Kaufman, former chief compliance officer of Prim, was sentenced earlier to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and $300 special assessment and perform 500 hours of community service for her involvement in the scheme.