David S. Hilzenrath of the Washington Post is reporting that NFL legend Willie Gault has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 1983 first-round draft pick had been in the news recently when the 1985 Super Bowl ring that he won with the iconic Chicago Bears squad was recovered after his Los Angeles home was burglarized.
Gault now has bigger problems, namely being charged along with five others for allegedly serving as a "celebrity figurehead" for a medical-device company involved in a stock scam.
The former wide receiver known for his speed held the title of “co-CEO for operations” at a company called Heart Tronics but “provided no meaningful oversight” while the company filed false and misleading financial reports to pump up its share price, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a civil suit.
Gault, 51, also fraudulently diverted one investor’s money for his personal use, the SEC said.
Defendants in the case include Heart Tronics chief executive J. Rowland Perkins II, who was a founder of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a powerful Hollywood talent firm. The two abdicated their legal responsibilities as executives, the SEC said.
Jared J. Scharf, a lawyer who represents Gault, Perkins and Heart Tronics, said in an interview that “nobody was misled.”
“Mr. Gault and Mr. Perkins have nothing in their hearts other than charity and saving lives,” Scharf said.
“They have not benefited,” he added.
We're surprised that this isn't a bigger story, especially with the high-profile people involved in the case. A legendary NFL player and the founder of one of the premier talent agencies in the world charged with fraud by the SEC is a pretty big deal. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Read more at the Washington Post.