AUSTIN (CN) - Former New Orleans Saints kicker Russell Erxleben was sentenced Monday to 7½ years in federal prison for a $2 million Ponzi scheme involving German bonds and art.
Erxleben, 57, of Dripping Springs, pleaded guilty in December to wire fraud and money laundering. Erxleben served 7 years for a previous securities conviction .
Prosecutors said Erxleben used several companies from 2005 to 2009 to promote investments in phony ventures, including post-World War I German government gold bearer bonds and a work of art purportedly by Paul Gauguin.
"By pleading guilty, Erxleben admitted that he used investment proceeds for the benefit of himself and his family, to pay purported dividends to previous investors, and to fund other undisclosed endeavors, contrary to promises and representations made by the defendant," prosecutors said in a statement. "In furtherance of the fraudulent scheme, Erxleben made various wire transfers using numerous financial accounts which were opened and maintained by others in an effort to avoid detection by authorities."
A place kicker and punter, Erxleben was a three-time All-American at the University of Texas in 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 Saints picked him in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft - a rarity for kickers. His son, Ryan Erxleben, is a punter at Texas Tech University.
An investor sued Russell Erxleben in Travis County Court in October 2012, claiming he was swindled out of $60,000 in the Ponzi scheme. More than 500 investors were ripped off by the scheme, prosecutors said.Follow @davejourno
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