LITTLE ROCK (CN) — Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden claims in court that his longtime financial adviser cheated him out of $15 million through “years of pervasive theft” he covered up with fake records.
McFadden sued Michael Vick on Tuesday in Federal Court. Vick is a former broker with Ameriprise Financial Services, McFadden says. He is not the NFL quarterback of the same name. Ameriprise is not a party to the lawsuit.
McFadden says Vick’s thefts were so brazen that he eventually tried to sell him a building that Vick had bought with McFadden’s own money — which brought his scheme to an end.
McFadden, 28, a nine-year NFL veteran, signed a six-year, $60 million contract when the Oakland Raiders drafted him fourth overall in the 2008 NFL Draft; it included $25 million of guaranteed money.
In March 2015, McFadden signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys worth an estimated $5.85 million, including $200,000 in bonuses.
The former Arkansas Razorback says he met Vick, then with Ameriprise, during his rookie year in 2008. He says he was referred to Ameriprise based on its reputation for providing advice to high-profile celebrities and professional athletes.
By 2010, Vick had left Ameriprise to become McFadden’s full-time business manager and financial representative, though he was no longer a licensed adviser, and, McFadden says, he was unaware of Vick’s severance from Ameriprise.
But even before he’d left Ameriprise, McFadden says, Vick was “commandeering” McFadden’s money, through “prolific withdrawals” and fraudulent transfers “directly to defendant Vick,” that he used to buy property and businesses for his personal benefit, which “Vick would ultimately just use to conceal and obfuscate his perpetual theft of plaintiff’s monies.”
Vick converted a “substantial portion” of McFadden’s assets for his personal use, the football player says.
“Rather than securing for plaintiff a lifetime of financial security as defendant Vick promised plaintiff, defendant Vick covertly used plaintiff’s income as his personal slush fund to subsidize his own lifestyle and expenses and to invest in his own projects, ultimately, through theft or gross mismanagement, losing and/or misappropriating approximately $15 million of plaintiff’s monies and assets,” according to the complaint.
Vick then claimed “to have ‘lost'” the money McFadden says, “going so far as to fabricate fictitious transactions, records and ‘spreadsheets’ to conceal Vick’s pervasive and widespread theft and mismanagement.”
McFadden says he “recently discovered defendant’s theft and gross mismanagement of plaintiff’s funds after defendant Vick offered to sell him a building defendant had purchased with plaintiff’s funds back to plaintiff.”
McFadden’s other “representatives” then took a look at Vick’s “fabricated spreadsheets” and found that Vick “had stolen and lost millions of dollars” that belonged to McFadden, according to the complaint.
McFadden, originally from Little Rock, says whatever money and assets he may still have remains hidden and/or converted by Vick.
He seeks at least $15 million in damages, and punitive damages, for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. He also wants and accounting, as he says it’s still unclear just how much money Vick took.
He is represented by Grant Fortson with Lax, Vaughan, Fortson, Rowe & Threet.
McFadden joins a long list of professional athletes who claim to have been ripped off by their financial advisers or business managers.
San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan sued his financial adviser in Texas last year, claiming he was taken for millions of dollars in mismanaged investments. That case is scheduled for trial in July 2017.
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