RIA swept up in major college basketball corruption scandal
A Princeton, New Jersey-based RIA has been swept up in a major college basketball scandal involving fraud and corruption charges, brought by federal prosecutors.
Munish Sood, the CEO and chief investment officer of Princeton Advisory Group, was arrested with nine other individuals, including four NCAA Division I coaches, and charged with wire fraud, bribery and conspiracy offenses.
"For the 10 charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March," Joon Kim, the acting U. S. Attorney for the Southern District, said in a statement. "Month after month, the defendants allegedly exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes."
Among those arrested was Chuck Person, who, until his suspension today, was associate head basketball coach at Auburn. Person, known as "The Rifleman" for his sharpshooting prowess, played in the NBA for 13 years and was a former NBA Rookie of the Year with the Indiana Pacers.
According to a complaint filed by the Justice Department, Sood and others bribed four men’s basketball coaches, including Person, Lamont Evans, Emanuel Richardson and Anthony Bland.
The bribes were offered “in exchange for the coaches’ agreement to direct players under their control, and the players’ families, to retain Sood [and others] once the players entered the NBA,” according to the statement from the U.S. Attorney.
"Month after month, the defendants allegedly exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country" said U.S. Attorney Joon Kim.
In one instance, Sood and another financial advisor, not named in the suit, paid $22,000 to a college coach in exchange for him steering players to the advisors, according to federal prosecutors. Another coach soliciting bribes detailed how he could leverage his proximity to the student athletes in exchange for alleged payments. “I can definitely can get the players. ... And I can definitely mold the players and put them in the lap of you guys,” the coach said, according to prosecutors.
"These corrupt arrangements," the complaint continued, "which turn on the coaches’ abuse of their positions of trust at the universities, are valuable both to the coaches, who receive cash bribes, and to the bribe-payors, for whom securing a future NBA player as a client can prove extremely profitable."
The legal name of Princeton Advisory Group is listed as Cross Point Capital on the firm's most recent Form ADV filing. The firm has $580 million in AUM, according to the Form ADV. According to BrokerCheck, Sood ended his employment at Cross Point on Sept. 6, but he remains listed as an executive on Princeton Advisory Group's web site.
Sood founded PAG in 2002 and according to BrokerCheck was employed by Alex. Brown from 1996 to 1998. He has no disciplinary disclosures on BrokerCheck. A request for comment from Sood and PAG's vice president and chief compliance officer Joy Sheehan was not immediately returned.
According to its Form ADV, PAG's clients include business development companies, pooled investment vehicles, insurance companies and special purpose vehicles but no individual clients. The firm states on its Form ADV that it offers portfolio management and runs a hedge fund but does not provide financial planning services.
Sood was set to appear before U.S. Magistrate James L. Cott in federal court on Tuesday.
The investigation into corruption in college basketball is "ongoing," Kim said at a press conference in New York.