TUCSON (CN) – Former University of Arizona and NFL running back Paul Shields Jr. and his wife bilked a Canadian couple of $1.4 million in a repossessed-home Ponzi scheme, the couple claims in Pima County Court.
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Shields played football for the U of A Wildcats in the late 1990s and for the Indianapolis Colts in 1999 and 2000.
He told Greg and Lisa Gill, of Windsor, Ontario, that the contacts he’d made playing football gave him an edge in buying and flipping bank-owned houses in Phoenix, the Gills say in their complaint.
The Gills say they met Shields and his wife Kimberly in 2008 through nonparty Ron Sanko, a former professional hockey player.
Shields told them that “because of his NFL contacts, (Shields) knew many people in the banking industry and was able to buy bank-owned property at very good values,” the complaint states.
The Gills say they decided to invest their family trust in a plan to purchase “undervalued” real estate in Phoenix, where Shields claimed that homes with $600,000 to $700,000 mortgages could be had for one-third of the price.
Shields told them that “the trust would provide the funds to buy the home and would always receive a note and deed of trust in the first position to secure the investment,” according to the complaint.
It seemed to work until 2010. The Gills say they invested between $300,000 and $600,000 in 12 homes, and always got their money back.
But the Gills say it was a Ponzi scheme.
“Although Greg did not know it at the time, he now believes that at least some of the money which was repaid to him through purported investments and resale of property was actually a Ponzi scheme in which defendants Shields would use plaintiffs’ money to repay plaintiffs for prior investments,” the complaint states. “This gave plaintiffs a false sense of security and trust in the defendants which allowed them to hide their wrongful conduct until November 2010.”
The Gills say they invested more than $1.4 million in four more homes between late 2009 and the summer of 2010, when they found that Shields had taken their money but had not given them the promised “first note and deed of trust on the properties.”
The Gills say they have not been repaid for the final four transactions, and they don’t own any of the homes.
They seek damages for fraud, securities fraud and breach of contract. They are represented by Ronald Lehman, with Gabroy Rollman & Bosse, in Tucson.