SBD/April 20, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFLPA Sends Out Alert To Agents About Investigation Into Financial Advisor
The NFLPA Thursday night sent out its first ever alert to NFLPA-certified agents about an investigation it is conducting involving a financial advisor to NFL players. “The NFL Players Association Security Department in cooperation with law enforcement is investigating multiple alleged investment fraud claims involving NFL Players,” the NFLPA memo stated. Subjects "central to all complaints have been identified as Bill C. Crafton, JR, A/K/A Billy Crafton and Matthew Jennings." Crafton is associated with several business interests in Southern California and Arizona. Crafton specializes in representing professional athletes. It has been reported that Crafton directed clients to invest in a group of companies under the umbrella of private equity firm Westmoore Management, where Jennings was listed as CEO. The Securities & Exchange Commission shut down Westmoore citing the business "engaged in a Ponzi like investment fraud scheme.” Crafton is San Diego-based SCG Management President, and he said in a telephone interview Thursday night he represents about 10 NFL players and about 15 MLB players for financial work. About 15 of his own athlete clients invested in Westmoore. Crafton said he was not contacted by the NFLPA about the memo, but some of his clients have been contacted by the NFLPA recently. “The SEC investigation of Westmoore and Jennings was about two years ago and at no time was I named as a defendant,” Crafton said. “In fact, the SEC did not even call me for a statement or question any involvement between myself and Westmoore when they did their investigation. The case was settled in August of 2011.” Crafton said that Westmoore, a private equity firm, reached out to him and he invested and lost his own money in the venture. “As with other investment opportunities, I conducted due diligence and only after that due diligence did I discuss the investment opportunity with my clients,” Crafton said. “This investment, like every other investment I have brought to my clients, was one, at the time I believed would provide the returns desired by the particular client. As with other investments, I was at all times concerned with my particular client’s best interest.” Attempts to reach Jennings for comment were unsuccessful.
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ALERTS ALLOWED LAST MONTH: A source said that the NFLPA at its annual meeting last month in Marco Island, Fla., enacted a new regulation regarding allowing such alerts in the future. Attempts to reach NFLPA officials for comment Thursday were unsuccessful. Attached to the NFLPA memo to agents was a release from the SEC stating that judgments were entered against Westmoore Management, LLC, Westmoore Investment, L.P., Westmoore Capital Management, Inc. and Westmoore Capital, LLC in U.S. District Court in L.A. The SEC filed a complaint against the Westmoore entities in June '10, alleging that “Jennings operated an undisclosed Ponzi-like fraudulent scheme through the Westmoore Entity defendants and their subsidiaries in violation of the federal securities laws." The NFLPA e-mail alert to agents asked them to contact NFLPA Dir of Security Tim Christine if they had any information relative to the matter. Christine did not immediately return a phone call. At least one agent said he sent the alert to his NFL player clients.