Former adviser testified he gave college football players money to win business later

Louis 'Marty' Blazer said he gave $10,000 to a player with hopes he could represent him when he turned pro

Apr 24, 2019 @ 4:56 pm

By InvestmentNews

A former financial adviser helping in a government investigation into corruption in college football, testified in a New York federal court that he directed payments to football players from Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and North Carolina between 2000 and 2014 in the hopes they would hire him as a financial adviser, according to CBSSports. com.

In court testimony Tuesday, Louis "Marty" Blazer said that in 2009 he paid $10,000 to the father of a Penn State player who was the 11th overall pick in that year's NFL draft, according to a story on CBSSports.com. Mr. Blazer testified that he made the payment at the encouragement of a Penn State assistant coach who said the player's family had money problems. He said the payment was by check and the transaction happened at the home of the Penn State coach.

More: What advisers need to know to serve professional athletes

Mr. Blazer, who was barred by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016 for misusing client funds, is also involved in an ongoing investigation into college basketball. How Mr. Blazer, who a sports agent described to ESPN.com as a "nickel-and-dime financial guy from Pittsburgh," became such a key player in two major sports investigations is a tale with several twists.

According to ESPN.com, the story began when Mr. Blazer helped finance a movie in 2009 using money from some of his clients. The movie was a bomb, and Mr. Blazer began to take funds from some clients to compensate others for losses in the movie and various other show business deals.

Mr. Blazer, who spent 13 years at Smith Barney after leaving a two-year stint at Merrill Lynch in 1995, formed his own advisory firm in 2008 and developed a specialty in serving professional athletes, many of whom invested in Mr. Blazer's deals, according to ESPN.com.

The SEC started investigating Mr. Blazer in 2013 after one of his athlete clients complained about losing money and demanded to be reimbursed. Simultaneously, Mr. Blazer was involved in a state investigation of improper payments to football players at the University of North Carolina, who told investigators that the money was in exchange for agreeing to sign with Mr. Blazer and an NFL agent.

To get himself out of the ever-tightening vise of the law, ESPN.com said Mr. Blazer proposed to the FBI that he help them uncover greater corruption in sports, particularly in college basketball, even though his experience was with football players. He began working with the government in November 2014 and over roughly 18 months he met repeatedly with coaches, players and parents, often carrying with him envelopes of cash, according to the web site.

The FBI probe into college basketball is continuing and may snare dozens of top basketball coaches. Mr. Blazer, meanwhile, awaits sentencing on criminal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and making false statements and falsifying documents. If the charges are combined, he could face a maximum of 67 years in prison.

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