VIRGINIA (CN) – A former University of Virginia football player was convicted of fraud and money laundering Thursday for his role in a $10 million scheme.
Merrill Robertson Jr. of Chesterfield, Virginia, formed two firms, Cavalier Union Investments LLC and Black Bull Wealth Management LLC, with partner Sherman Carl Vaughn. For five years, the duo solicited investors and pooled resources from Robertson’s days as an athlete
As recounted in a statement from the Justice Department, Robertson developed his points of contact by calling on connections at the Fork Union Military Academy, the University of Virginia and the NFL.
“Behind every lie is a choice. Mr. Robertson lied to his friends and mentors and many times had the opportunity to come clean and tell the truth. Instead, he chose to continue his lies and fraud which had devastating effects on his victims,” the statement said.
Robertson and Vaughn presented themselves as experienced investment advisors who employed other experts like them to manage their investments, the DOJ account continued. In one instance, Vaughn told a potential investor that he was he had been in the business for a long time and was a philanthropist with extensive connections in the business and real estate world.
In reality, Vaughn had filed for bankruptcy four times. Two of those filings occurred while he was operating Cavalier Union Investments with Robertson, the Justice Department said.
Much of the ill-gotten money was put toward the men’s personal expenses like mortgages, car payments, school tuition, entertainment and vacations.
Robertson was convicted of mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. He faces a maximum penalty of 330 years in prison. His sentencing date is December 6.
The University of Virginia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.