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Fraud charges put former New Jersey Nets star on the defense

Fraud charges put former New Jersey Nets star on the defense

At some point, a professional athlete's career comes to an end and the athlete must move on to another career choice. For one well-known former New Jersey Nets player, the career choice was real estate.

C. Tate George, who played for the Nets and Milwaukee Bucks as a guard, started The George Group, a real estate investment firm that boasted $500 million in assets on its website. However, recently federal agents arrested George on charges of operating a classic Ponzi scheme that allegedly swindled more than $2 million from investors, including other professional athletes.

The 43-year-old George, who currently resides in Newark, is said to have turned himself in on Friday, Sept. 23. According to the criminal complaint, George faces charges of wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted.

The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service have accused the former basketball star of recruiting investors to put money into development projects in New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut and Illinois, and then using the money to pay principal and interest payments to investors he already had and personal expenses.

George is accused to taking more than $2 million from investors between 2005 and March of this year, and authorities said that several former athletes were named as investors. He allegedly used part of the investment money on home improvement projects, clothing, gas and child support payment.

Accusations of Ponzi schemes have become quite common in recent years. Because this is a federal crime, it's important that the accused find a lawyer who has significant experience in federal court. Federal courts have their own rules and procedures that vary greatly from those of state courts.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Former New Jersey Nets player charged in $2M real estate scam," Peter Sampson, Sept. 23, 2011.

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