Player Life

Christian Athletes Lose $33 Million in Ponzi Scheme

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Ash Narayan is being investigated by the SEC for “secretly siphoning millions of dollars” from professional athletes’ financial accounts “using forged or unauthorized signatures.”

Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez and other professional athletes said they were cheated in a Ponzi-like scheme by Narayan, who appealed to their Christian faith.

Sanchez, SF Giants pitcher Jake Peavy, and former MLB pitcher Roy Oswalt, were defrauded out of about $30 million, according to a recently unsealed Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit in Dallas federal court.

The athletes all used Narayan, formerly a broker with RGT Capital Management, who gained their trust by connecting through Christian faith and interest in similar charitable works.

All three athletes sought low-risk, conservative investment strategies, the SEC said. Narayan ignored their requests and instead invested in TTR,  The Ticket Reserve Inc., which allows fans to reserve face-value tickets to sporting events where the teams have yet to be determined.  TTR’s chief executive officer wrote to Narayan in a May 2014 email: “To be sure, our revenue sucks. Our balance sheet is a disaster.”

“Narayan exploited athletes and other clients who trusted him to manage their finances. He fraudulently funneled their savings into a money-losing business and his own pocket,” said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, head of the SEC’s Fort Worth office.

Sanchez met Narayan soon after entering the National Football League in 2009.  The two attended the same church in California, and Sanchez said he believed the adviser was a devout Christian and highly qualified. The quarterback had his NFL paychecks deposited directly into a brokerage account.

Yesterday, the NFL Players Association sent a letter to its players warning them of the fraudulent scheme.

The NFLPA has suspended Narayan as a registered financial adviser for the union.

About Scott Wallace