MLB Stars Told To Give Up Stanford Ponzi-Profits

Attorneys want to chop up returns to bail out victims

By Emily Feldman
|  Monday, Jun 29, 2009  |  Updated 11:45 AM EDT
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MLB Stars Told To Give Up Stanford Ponzi-Profits

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The Yankees' Johnny Damon is one of 7 MLB players twisted up in the trial of Ponzi-man R. Allen Stanford.

Major League Baseball stars who profited from Allen Stanford's suspected Ponzi scheme can kiss their millions goodbye if one lawyer gets his way.

Ralph Janvey, the receiver responsible for gathering money to repay Stanford's 50,000 alleged victims, wants Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon and five other ball players to throw $9.5 million of their money into the repayment pot, according to the Washington Times.

That the players had no clue they might be part of an international Ponzi scheme that stole $7 billion from unknowing clients matters little to Janvey.

"The fact that the [ballplayers] are innocent investors and committed no wrongdoing does not entitle them to retain proceeds received from the fraudulent" scheme, lawyers for Mr. Janvey wrote in a filing.

Retired stars Greg Maddox and Bernie Williams, as well as Johnny Damon of the Yankees, J.D.Drew of the Red Sox, Andruw Jones of the Rangers, Carlos Pena of the Rays and former player Jay Bell, are being represented by lawyer Gene Besen, who did not comment on the filing.

Janvey has been busy tracking down Ponzi profits and making plans to sell off Stanford's assets in an attempt to refund duped investors. He's asking for a range of $3.7 million from Maddux down to $400,070 from Damon.

When all is done, the players might get some of their money back if the pot is divided evenly. White-collar defense lawyer Barry Pollack told the Times that,  "while they might be putting in $1.25 now, they may be getting 75 cents down the road."

The CEO of Stanford Financial Group pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges in a 21-count indictment accusing him of running a Ponzi scheme.

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