WASHINGTON – A Wall Street broker was barred from the securities industry after he led 31 NFL players to invest in a controversial Alabama casino that went bankrupt, losing them more than $40 million.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a self-regulatory body for Wall Street, said Thursday that the broker, Jeffrey Rubin of Lighthouse Point, Fla., made four unsuitably risky investment recommendations to one of his customers. The client was retired Baltimore Ravens player Samari Rolle, according to regulatory filings, and he lost $3 million.
Rolle declined to comment.
One of Rubin’s recommendations was to invest in a Alabama casino that eventually went bankrupt. Starting in January 2008, Rubin also referred 30 other NFL players, including Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, Clinton Portis, Santonio Holmes, Santana Moss, Fred Taylor, Jevon Kearse and Kyle Orton, to invest in this casino. Together, they lost about $40 million.
The Country Crossing casino shut down under pressure from Alabama’s gambling task force in 2010. Its developer, Ronnie Gilley, pleaded guilty to offering bribes to legislators.
“This case demonstrates how broker misconduct can target high-income, inexperienced, and vulnerable investors,” Brad Bennett, Finra’s executive vice-president and chief of enforcement, said in a statement. “Jeffrey Rubin took advantage of professional athletes who placed their trust in him.”
Rubin neither admitted nor denied the charges.
Finra also said that Rubin received a 4 per cent ownership stake and $500,000 from the casino project’s promoter for these referrals. Additionally, Rubin failed to get the necessary approval of his employers, Alterna Capital Corp. and International Assets Advisory LLC, for the securities. Rubin also operated Pro Sports Financial, which provided financial-related “concierge” services to professional athletes for an annual fee.
The NFL said in 2011 that it was investigating the player investments, which might have run afoul of league rules. A spokesman for the NFL declined to comment Thursday. NFL rules bar employees from involvement with any gaming operation. Players violating that rule could be subject to fines or suspensions and have to give up their investment.