Robert Lunn, the financial adviser who bilked former NBA star Scottie Pippen, has been sentenced to three years behind bars. Lunn was convicted in 2014 of multiple counts of bank fraud.
According to prosecutors, he obtained $3M in loans from Leaders Bank, $1.4M of which he claimed was for Pippen to invest in a private jet. Instead, Lunn used the majority of funds for himself, including to pay for mortgage bills. He also used the money to pay other investment clients.
District Judge Charles Norgle, who imposed the prison term, said during trial that Lunn lied about forging the NBA legend’s signature, as well a claimed he’d received permission to apply for a second loan on behalf of Robert Geras, a retired venture capitalist. Norgle said that Lunn’s scam wasn’t your “garden variety fraud” and that he used “skills and connivance” when presenting himself to his victims.
Pippen was close to retirement when he invested over $20M with Lunn, who came highly recommended by the Bulls. He and his wife Larsa said less than a year after investing with Lunn, that they received a call from their accountant telling them that their adviser may have taken their money.
Pippen testified at Lunn’s criminal trial. He said that he hired Lunn in 1999 and signed papers that the financial adviser sent him for a loan in 2002. As his relationship with Lunn deteriorated, however, he refused to sign documents that would have extended the loan. Pippin claims that the adviser forged his name on the paperwork.
The NBA star has been able to recoup $8M of his stolen investment in bankruptcy court because the shopping plaza development in which Lunn had invested a lot of Pippen’s money was purchased by another developer. He and his wife claim that Lunn’s scam caused them unnecessary stress because they had young children to support. They also suffered because the media “irresponsibly reported” that the couple had mismanaged their funds and gone bankrupt.
Prior to setting up Lunn Partners in the 1990s. Lunn worked for Morgan Stanley (MS) and Lehman Brothers. Prosecutors claim that he falsely told prospective clients, including Pippen, that he went to the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Both statements were false.
Unfortunately, because of their vast earnings, professional athletes are frequently targeted by scammers. Many professional athletes are unsophisticated when it comes to investing. Because of their busy schedules, they may not closely monitor their investment activities, instead relying on the professionals they handled to do the job for them. This can make them easy and vulnerable targets.
When a professional athlete loses most of his/her earnings, the outcome can be financially devastating, especially when he/she is close to or has already retired. Unlike other professions, most professional athletes will retire from their sport at a young age.
At The SSEK Partners Group, our securities law firm represents high net worth individuals seeking to recoup their losses. Contact us today to request your free consultation. Our securities fraud lawyers represent clients throughout the United States. We also work with investors based abroad who have dealt with firms and representatives in the U.S.
Former money adviser to Scottie Pippen gets 3 years for fraud, Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2016
Scottie Pippen was scammed by his adviser. Here’s how to learn from his experience, The Washington Post, March 23, 2016