The Denver Post recently reported that legendary quarterback John Elway was recently the victim of a Ponzi scheme that lost the former Bronco $15 million.
Allegedly, Elway and his business manager Mitchell Pierce invested the millions with hedge fund manager Sean Mueller back in March. An ensuing investigation revealed that Mueller had collected $71 million in investments from 65 different people, yet only had $9.5 million in assets.
Elway is not the first athlete to lose millions through bad investments, as every year we hear stories about crooked accountants, thieving agents and a slew of poor investments.
With that in mind, we examine the 20 worst jock money flushes of all time.
Poor Moose. Muhammad was one of the NFL’s most charitable players and was honored with the Carolina Panthers' “Man of the Year” award in 1999.
The Panthers receiver started his own charity called the M2 Foundation for Kids, which helps with the development of children.
Unfortunately, M twice is being sued by Wachovia Bank for failing to pay back a debt related to Baylo Entertainment—Muhammad’s music company.
Does Sir Charles have a gambling problem? I guess it depends who you ask. The round mound of rebound has lost over $10 million gambling but believes it’s not a problem because he can afford it.
When asked about his problem, Barkley responded, “Do I think it's a bad habit? Yes, I think it's a bad habit. Am I going to continue to do it? Yes, I'm going to continue to do it.”
Many of you may be unfamiliar with Riise, but he is a terrific soccer player for AC Roma who earns a whopping $75,000 per week.
Currently he is being invested for fraud, as some questions arose about where his money was being invested. The $4 million fraud case is set to be tried in Norway.
Even in a tough 2010, Tiger Woods has reportedly earned $105 million, so how could he possibly be guilty of one of the worst money flushes in all time?
With his divorce from wife Elin set in stone, Woods could stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Looks like those 14 counts of infidelity could end up costing the golfing great more than he could have ever imagined.
Possibly the fastest player to ever touch an NFL field, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail never lived up to the high expectations many had when he was drafted out of Notre Dame. Good thing about the NFL—even busts get paid.
Ismail made nearly $20 million but lost it all due to a series of poor investments. The Rocket put his money into odd business ventures, including kiosks that write proverbs in calligraphy and phone card dispensers.
These bad investments never led Ismail to bankruptcy, but they certainly put a massive dent in his nest egg.
In his 12 years in the NBA, Antoine Walker made over $110 million in salary alone. How things have changed for the former Celtics star.
Walker owes more than $4 million to creditors due to his wild spending after buying at least seven cars (including two Bentleys) and supporting 70 friends and family members.
The former Kentucky Wildcat also had a gambling problem and accrued an $800,000 debt at Harrah’s casino and a similar debt at Caesars Palace in Vegas.
Since leaving the Bulls, life hasn’t been easy on Scottie. Pippen unsuccessfully sued his former law firm for $27 million based on failed investments the firm had suggested.
He was also found to owe $5 million to U.S. Bank in lawyers' fees from a corporate jet he purchased in 2001.
After making over $60 million in his career, Anderson does not have a dollar to his name and filed for bankruptcy in 2005.
Anderson spent all his money on a $6 million prenuptial agreement and blew $10,000 a month on his “allowance.”
The Detroit Red Wing great made the mistake of teaming up with a very sketchy business partner and lost a lot of money in the process.
McCarty owned a 20 percent stake in a real estate company that his business partner used as a personal piggy bank. After taking out a $3 million loan in McCarty’s name, his partner forged D-Mac’s signature for a $650,000 check.
McCarty also lost much of his money to a substance abuse problem, but he has righted the ship and now works as an NHL analyst for Versus.
Here’s proof that men aren’t the only people who are bad with their money.
Swoopes was the most successful WNBA player of all time—on and off the court.
She pulled down over $50 million over her illustrious career but filed for bankruptcy in 2004 after a string of bad investments.
The former Sacramento King and Duke standout joins the ranks of athletes after dealing with his own financial problems.
Just over a month ago, Hurley’s 140-acre horse farm in Florida was foreclosed on and sold at auction to help pay off $3.3 million worth of debt.
The man known as Night Train is a prime example of how not to spend your fortune.
Lane had a successful NFL career, once setting the single-season interception mark, but spent all of his money before living off pension checks and dying broke in a retirement home in 2002.
Lane lived a lavish lifestyle before losing money in failed real estate and music ventures.
Back in the '70s and '80s, athletes' salaries paled in comparison to today’s gargantuan contracts.
A great pitcher like Rollie Fingers only made $8 million during his impressive career and like all these other athletes ended up without a dime to his name.
At one time, Fingers owed creditors over $4 million and had to sell baseball cards to help repay the debt.
Even legends aren’t immune to financial problems.
After retiring from football in 1973, Unitas tried his hand at a plethora of varying business ventures. He invested in real estate, bowling alleys, restaurants and more.
Unfortunately, many of these endeavors failed, and J-Unit filed for bankruptcy in 1991.
A real estate-related lawsuit still loomed over his head when he passed away in 2002.
Eyre, a 6'2" lefty, last played a season ago for the Philadelphia Phillies. Before that he had spent time with the White Sox, Blue Jays, Giants and Cubs.
Unfortunately, while a member of the Phillies in 2009, Eyre lost nearly all of his money in a multibillion-dollar fraud perpetrated by financier Robert Allen Stanford.
In fact, Eyre told The New York Times that 99 percent of his assets were frozen or gone due to Stanford’s massive Ponzi scheme.
The former Florida Gator and current Patriot may not have surrounded himself with the best people. In 2001, it came out that Taylor’s agent, William Black, had stolen almost all of Taylor’s $5 million signing bonus.
While Taylor was not the only player that Black victimized, he was certainly hit the hardest. In fact, the incident was so painful for Taylor that he considered retiring after only three seasons in the league.
Once a great running back for the Saints, Deuce McAllister was a salary cap casualty in 2008 after struggling through a series of tough injuries.
While Deuce owns the Saints' career records for rushing yards and touchdowns, there is very little else he owns these days.
McAllister’s Nissan dealership went belly up, and the two-time Pro Bowler now owes the car company over $6.6 million.
If only Travis Henry had invested in a vasectomy, he might still have his vast fortunes.
After making over $20 million in his career, Henry finds himself amongst the penniless former athletes.
The former Bronco running back has nine kids...from nine different women. Henry is currently in jail for a cocaine trafficking offense and was once jailed for when he was unable to pay the $3,000 per month child support payments.
Back in 2004, Sprewell drew the ire of fans everywhere when he turned down a lucrative three-year, $21 million deal, saying, “I got my family to feed.”
The next year, when Sprewell was solely being offered the league minimum, his agent said Sprewell wouldn’t even accept the mid-level exception, as the $5 million threshold was “a level beneath which [Sprewell] would not stoop or kneel."
I wonder what Sprewell would be willing to stoop to in order to pay his family now.
The ill-tempered Sprewell was sued for $200 million by his longtime girlfriend, and more recently the former Knicks and Timberwolves player was forced to sell his home and yacht.
Tyson’s fiscal irresponsibility is mind-blowing. The former heavyweight champ made an estimated $400 million yet at one point was worth less than $700!
Kid Dynamite declared for bankruptcy in 2003, and although those days seem to be behind him, the story of his decline is baffling. I’m not sure I’m even capable of spending that much money.
Iron Mike wasn’t much of an investor but threw his money away on jewelry, cars and even Siberian tigers. His drug problem and messy divorce were amongst his steepest expenses.