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Willie Gault Charged With Fraud

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) — U.S. finance regulators charged former professional football star Willie Gault with scheming to defraud investors of $8 million.

There are other suspects in the case, including former Hollywood producer J. Rowland Perkins and California attorney Mitchell Stein, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged the trio with fraudulently publicizing the company Heart Tronics.

Investors’ funds were used by Stein to finance a luxurious lifestyle, the SEC alleged. Gault, a former wide receiver with the Chicago Bears, also used investors’ funds for personal use, the SEC charged.

Some of the money was used to bid on company shares to create the illusion there was a demand for the stock, the SEC said.

Gault is the second football celebrity to be charged by the SEC this week.

Daniel Ruettiger, who played at Notre Dame and inspired the movie “Rudy” was charged with falsely inflating the price of stock for a sports drink company called Rudy Nutrition in what is called a “pump and dump” scheme — inflating prices of a stock, then selling shares when the price goes high.

“It’s important people understand the company they are investing in and not make an investment based on who is selling it to them,” said Stephen Cohen, associate director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

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