A one-time NFL player and ex-Merrill Lynch broker has been ordered to pay more than $8 million for defrauding clients, some of whom he knew from his time playing football at the University of Virginia.
Merrill Robertson Jr., who worked at Merrill Lynch from 2008 to 2009, has already been sentenced to 40 years in prison in a separate criminal case stemming from a scheme in which he and a partner raised $10 million from investors. Instead of investing the funds as promised, Robertson and his partner spent nearly $6 million on personal expenses including cars, vacations and a luxury suite at a football stadium, according to the SEC.
Robertson was not registered as a broker during the time of the scheme, the SEC says. He briefly played for the Philadelphia Eagles as a linebacker before transitioning into a wealth management career.
An attorney for Robertson could not be reached for comment.
After leaving Merrill Lynch, Robertson formed Cavalier Union Investments with partner Sherman C. Vaughn Jr. in Chesterfield, Virginia. Their target clients were seniors, coaches, donors, alumni and employees of schools Robertson had attended, according to the SEC.
Authorities accused the men of misleading clients about what they would invest their funds in as well as the safety of those investments. The SEC said that Cavalier's only investments were in restaurants, and those failed by 2014.
Last month, Vaughn pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of unlawful monetary action. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.