(CN) – A story in Sports Illustrated touting Triton Financial’s use of NFL players to push its securities drew the attention of Texas financial regulators, and now the SEC has sued Triton and its principal, Kurt Barton, claiming they defrauded investors of $8.4 million.
The March 2009 story in Sports Illustrated “described Triton’s use of former Heisman Trophy winners and NFL players to promote its investments to potential investors, including other football players,” the SEC said in a statement announcing its lawsuit in Austin Federal Court.
“The article noted one particular mass email, sent by a former NFL quarterback to numerous NFL alumni, that discussed Triton’s activities and touted Triton’s returns on its investments. … The defendants provided the TSSB [Texas State Securities Board] with altered and fabricated documents during the examination that followed the article’s publication,” the SEC said.
The SEC has frozen the defendants’ assets.