Quarterback Mark Sanchez has had his share of bad luck in his NFL career, but even the infamous "butt fumble" did not lose him $7 million.
Sanchez, currently of the Denver Broncos and formerly of the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, is one of a group of people, including other professional athletes, that court documents filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission allege lost more than $30 million in a scam that amounts to a Ponzi scheme. Those unsealed court documents reveal that Sanchez, as well as Major League Baseball players Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt, were scammed by former RGT Capital Management broker Ash Narayan, who appealed to their Christian faith and values.
According to the SEC, Narayan sought out Sanchez and others for investment in the Ticket Reserve Inc. (TTR), a company that allows fans to reserve face-value tickets to sports events before the teams are set — customers could, for example, reserve tickets to next year's NBA Finals. Then, the regulators say, he diverted much more than the agreed investment into the company. In Sanchez's case, after the football player agreed to a $100,000 investment, Narayan funneled $7 million from Sanchez's accounts into TTR. Peavy lost $15 million and Oswalt lost $7 million, the SEC said.
Narayan also concealed conflicts of interest from RGT and his clients, including the facts that Narayan was on the board at the Ticket Reserve, owned millions of shares in the company and was its principal fundraiser. He was able to win the confidence of Sanchez, Peavy, Oswalt and others by connecting with them over Christianity. He befriended Sanchez at a church they attended in California and reportedly told investors that they had a "common friend" in Jesus.
Narayan denies that he has committed any wrongdoing.
"Mr. Narayan has always sought to act in his clients' best interests," lawyer Howard Privette said, according to Bloomberg. "Accordingly, he will continue to work with the SEC to ensure that this matter is resolved in the most favorable manner for those clients."
The lawsuit that exposed Narayan's alleged behavior was brought by RGT, which claimed that he mishandled clients' accounts.