The University of Connecticut made the news twice Monday.
UConn Alumnus C. Tate George, whose last-second shot brought the school an NCAA victory over Clemson University in 1990, was found guilty in New Jersey of participating in a $2 million investment fraud scheme, it was announced Monday.
Also on Monday, the University of Connecticut fired football Coach Paul Pasqualoni.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, of New Jersey, said the jury deliberated four hours before convicting George, 45, of Newark, of four counts of wire fraud after a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper.
George was immediately remanded into federal custody to await sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2014.
According to documents filed in this case and evidence presented at trial:
"George, a former player for the New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball teams, held himself out as the chief executive officer of 'The George Group' and claimed to have more than $500 million in assets under management.
"He pitched prospective investors, including several former professional athletes, to invest with the firm and told them their money would be used to fund The George Group’s purchase and development of real estate development projects, including projects in Connecticut and New Jersey.
"George represented to some prospective investors that their funds would be held in an attorney trust account and personally guaranteed the return of their investments, with interest," Fishman said.
Instead of buying real estate, George used the money between 2005 and 2011 to repay his investors, expand his New Jersey home (that his since been foreclosed), pay for his daughter's Sweet 16 Party, the mortgage on a New Jersey home, the mortgage on a Florida home, taxes to the IRS and traffic tickets, according to prosecutors.
"The defendant gave money to family members and friends. He also spent $2,905 for a reality video about himself (a 'sizzle reel' for 'The Tate Show,' is available on YouTube). The George Group had virtually no income-generating operations," prosecutors said.
Each of the wire fraud counts on which he was convicted is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; postal inspectors of the USPIS, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates; and criminal investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph B. Shumofsky and Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.