Ballplayer Says Movie Man Rolled Him

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - Florida Marlins infielder Mike Lamb claims he was defrauded of $253,000 he invested in a "spiritual and theological" movie. After Louis Simon took the money, ostensibly for his businesses, Flipside LLC and Moving Forward Productions, Simon defamed the ballplayer, Lamb claims in Superior Court.
     Lamb claims he befriended Simon in 2001. "Shortly thereafter, Simon confided in Lamb that he had a gambling abuse problem, but that with assistance of his church he had turned his life around," the complaint states.
     "Simon further expressed that he wanted to produce a movie entitled the 'The Flipside' (the 'Picture') that would embody spiritual and theological messages, which he hoped would provide motivation to others to turn their lives around for the better."
     Lamb claims that Simon told him in the autumn of 2008 that the $253,000 would be "a short-term bridge loan to help cash flow the actual and direct costs of pre-production ... until Simon could obtain nine million dollars ($9,000,000) to fund the production budget."
     Simon promised to repay the money with interest by Sept. 25, 2009, Lamb says.
     Lamb says that Simon introduced him to "alleged guarantors who would repay the loan if necessary": Kevin Darling and "his company First Coast Financial."
     Neither Darling nor First Coast Financial are named as defendants.
     Lamb says he that Simon's promised him that Darling "was both exceedingly wealthy and free of any significant negative litigation and/or criminal history," but that "both of those representations were false."
     "In fact," the complaint states, "Darling has a felon conviction for drug trafficking," multiple convictions for drunk driving, and "he is a defendant in a federal civil suit consisting of similar allegations and causes of actions as are present in the instant action."
     Lamb claims that Darling has refused to pony up the money he allegedly guaranteed, in one instance, with the "ludicrous assertion that his gold, held in a foreign territory, could not be flown out of the country because it made the plane too heavy to take off and they needed additional jets."
     Lamb also claims that Simon defamed him in a Twitter posting that referred to him as "'this baseball player' who 'has an ego and is greedy.'"
     Lamb wants his money back and punitive damages for breach of contract, conversion, conspiracy, fraud, aiding and abetting, defamation, and unjust enrichment. He is represented by Thomas Vidal with Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson.