NFL Seeks Special Investigator to Query Fraud in Billion Dollar Concussion Settlement

On April 13, 2018, the NFL filed a motion seeking the appointment of a special investigator to more closely examine potentially fraudulent concussion claims that may be “clogging the system” of the $1 billion settlement. Of the 2,000 plus claims submitted to date, about 46 percent indicate the presence of fraud, according to the motion. The NFL maintains that a new investigator will have the appropriate resources to uncover intentional fraud, which the current claims administrator does not have the capacity to do. Specifically, the…
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Move to Dismiss Expert in Negligence and Fraud Claims

On February 7, 2018, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former player, Lazarius Pep Levingston. Levingston sued the team and its Director of Football Operations, Mike Greenburg, for negligence and fraud, alleging that the team concealed the extent of Levingston’s injures in order to give Levingston a smaller settlement. In August 2013, Levingston suffered a neck injury in a pre-season football game. The team informed Levingston that he had a “cervical strain/sprain, thoracic sprain/contusion, and shoulder contusion.” He…
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Amateur Weightlifter/Santa Barbara Police Officer Sentenced for Workers’ Comp Fraud

Jacob Finnerty was recently sentenced to 120 days in jail, five years of probation, and more than $115,000 in restitution based on charges of workers’ compensation fraud. Finnerty was a former offensive lineman in college and a competitive wrestler and weightlifter who subsequently became a Santa Barbara police officer. In 2013, he claimed a lower back injury arising out of his work duties when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Investigators, however, subsequently discovered that Finnerty was continuing to participate in wrestling and…
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Semi-Pro Football Player Pleads Guilty to Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Jason Fitch, a semi-professional football player for the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters, recently pleaded guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud. Fitch, a lineman for the Bounty Hunters, alleged that he had injured his knee while kicking a heavy bag during training with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office in May 2014.  However, on further investigation of the claim and after none of the witnesses at the Sheriff’s office could corroborate Fitch’s story, the Attorney General’s office discovered that Fitch had given inconsistent histories of…
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Defrauding Chicago’s Legendary Team

The jury needed less than five hours to decide whether a rooftop owner defrauded the Chicago Cubs. On July 22, 2016, a jury convicted Marc Hamid of fraud and illegal bank structuring. Hamid had once been co-owner of Skybox on Sheffield, a rooftop that charges clients to drink, eat, and watch Chicago Cubs games from outside the field. Additionally, Hamid owned two ticket brokerage companies, JustGreatTickets.com and Just Great Seats. Following his indictment in March, Hamid was terminated and relieved of his duties and involvement…
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Derek Jeter Unable to Dismiss Claims of Fraud

Derek Jeter’s bid for dismissal of fraud and fiduciary claims brought against him by high-end underwear maker RevolutionWear Inc. (RWI) last November was largely unsuccessful. On July 19, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III of the Delaware Chancery Court retained four of the five counts against Jeter: acting in bad faith, fraudulently concealing his interests, fraudulently inducing company actions, and knowingly making false claims to investors. The lawsuit spawned from Jeter’s promotion to RWI’s board of directors in 2011, giving him a 15 percent stake…
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NFL Hall-of-Farmer Ron Mix Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

On May 23, 2016, Ron Mix pleaded guilty in the state of Missouri to tax fraud committed while he was working as a workers’ compensation attorney. Mix, an offensive lineman and former number one draft back for the AFL in 1960, is a former San Diego Charger who was elected to the AFL All-Star team nine consecutive times. After retiring from football, he then earned his law degree and more recently focused his practice on the area of assisting retired professional athletes in seeking claims…
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SEC Requests Seizure of Super Bowl Ring

On June 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked a California court for permission to seize former NFL player Willie Gault’s Super Bowl ring. Gault, who helped the Chicago Bears win Super Bowl XX in 1986, agreed to pay $206,571 in April of 2015 for his role in inflating the stock of heart-monitoring device maker Heart Tronics, Inc., where he served as co-chief executive officer. The SEC is asking for Gault’s ring to help satisfy the settlement, which consists of a $78,000 civil…
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Soccer Superstar Lionel Messi Goes on Trial for Alleged Tax Fraud in Spain

In what has become a scandalous recent trend in the world of sports, Lionel Messi has become the latest high-profile soccer superstar to deal with Spain’s tough tax system and its legal enforcement. Messi’s tax trial began earlier this week in Barcelona, but the soccer legend finally had his day in court on Thursday, June 2, 2016. On the stand Messi reiterated the theme his attorneys have been illustrating over the course of the week — that he had zero knowledge of the financial transactions…
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“The O.C.” Star Sues Mother for Fraud

Mischa Barton — former star of the hit TV show “The O.C.” — filed suit against her mother, Nuala Barton, in April, alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duties, among other causes of action. On January 3, 2016, a California judge determined that Mischa Barton’s suit did not adequately allege fraud, but told the actress that she may amend her complaint. Barton’s complaint writes that the “action arises from the tragic tale of a greedy stage mother posing as a talent manager who, instead of…
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