Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Scott Eyre is making headlines off the field, claiming he is temporarily destitute because his money is invested with companies controlled by billionaire Robert Allen Stanford. The funds have been frozen because of the federal investigation into Stanford's business empire.
Stanford is allegedly the mastermind of an $8 billion fraud that promised victims returns on CDs issued by his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua that were "too good to be true," according to the SEC. The Texas-born businessman is facing a civil suit but has not been charged criminally.
In a remarkable interview with MLB.com, the journeyman pitcher who was signed last year to a one-year, $2 million contract, admitted he could not pay his bills.
"I'm broke right now. I have no money. I have $13 in my wallet," Eyre is quoted as saying. "My wife just wrote all these checks to pay bills, and they're all going to bounce. If it takes a week or two to get my money back, I'm going to have to ask my teammates for some money. Seriously, I'm going to have to ask them that. I can't get any money out."
Officials from the Phillies and the Major League Baseball Players Association could not be reached for comment. Agent Scott Boras, some of whose clients were also victims, told The New York Times that they should be able to get their money out soon. He said he was helping players who needed assistance with "cash-flow" issues.
Getting his money out may be longer than he expects. The Stanford and Bernard Madoff schemes are orders of magnitude larger than most frauds. Unwinding them will be complicated.
"This will definately take some time for the SEC to figure out what happened," said Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor and SEC enforcement attorney who is now a partner with the law firm Shulman Rogers. "This could take -- best case scenario many months."
But Eyre may have bigger problems.
According to the interview, Eyre said he believes that his finances were safe because the money was insured. "But it's all a scheme, so who knows if that's real insurance or not?"
Eyre's suspicions are probably correct. Stanford told investors that his CDs were as safe if not safer than accounts backed by the FDIC. But what insurance it does have does not cover investment losses, according to Bloomberg.
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