AUSTIN (CN) – Former NFL kicker Russell Erxleben admitted his role in a $2 million Ponzi scheme involving phony investments in fine art and post-World War I German bonds.
Erxleben, 56, of Dripping Springs, pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud and money laundering. He agreed to serve 7½ years in federal prison and pay restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
From 2005 to 2009, Erxleben used several companies to market investments in phony post-World War I German government gold-bearer bonds and in phony Gauguin paintings. The companies he used include WALTEC Consultants, LRE Holdings, and The MDM Group, prosecutors said.
Erxleben admitted he used his ill-gotten swag to pay himself, his family and to pay off early investors – one hallmark of a Ponzi scheme.
Erxleben, a place kicker and punter, was a three-time All-American at the University of Texas at Austin, from 1976 to 1978. He set the record for the longest field goal in NCAA history in 1977, a 67-yarder against Rice University.
The New Orleans Saints picked him in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft – a rarity for kickers. An investor sued Erxleben in Travis County Court in October 2012, claiming he lost $60,000 in the Ponzi scheme.
Erxleben is in custody awaiting sentencing, which is set for Feb. 24, 2014.
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