Man sentenced to prison for stealing millions from NFL players

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A North Carolina financial adviser has been sentenced to 65 months in prison on Wednesday for embezzling $2.9 million from professional athletes, including National Football League (NFL) players.

High Point businessman Michael Rowan, 46, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false 2011 income tax return, according to Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Rowan and his business partner operated Capital Management Wealth Advisors Inc. and APS Management LLC. He allegedly contacted pre-NFL-drafted college players to offer financial and wealth management services, including bill payment, investment services, and financial guidance.

Once the players were officially drafted, he charged them an annual fee of $15,000 to $50,00 for financial services and entered into agreements to access the players’ bank accounts, as stated in the court documents.

Rowan told his the players he would only make authorized transactions that were for their benefit, but in reality, he proceeded to funnel more than $2.9 million for his own personal use without his clients’ consent.

“Michael Rowan betrayed his NFL football player clients by abusing the trust they placed in him as their financial advisor,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg. “He diverted millions of their money to his personal benefit and then cheated the IRS by failing to pay $479,000 in taxes he owed on his illegal income.”

In addition, Rowan failed to report more than $1.4 million of the embezzled funds on his federal tax returns between 2009 through 2013, which resulted in a net loss of $479,000 to the IRS.

“Michael Rowan’s offer of financial services amounted to financial fraud,” said Chief Richard Weber of IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI). “Rowan took advantage of his client’s financial naivety to steal from them and further compounded his greed by attempting to hide the ill-gotten gains from the IRS.”

Not only has Rowan been sentenced to serve a prison term of more than five years, but he is also ordered to serve one year of supervised release and to pay restitution of more than $3.4 million, including $2,960,295 to the victims and $479,352 to the IRS, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

H/T: U.S. Dept of Justice

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