Former UVA football player involved in $10 million fraud scheme

Former UVA football player involved in $10 million fraud scheme
A former University of Virginia football player was convicted for his role in $10 million fraud scheme.

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A former University of Virginia football player was convicted for his role in $10 million fraud scheme.

Court records show 39-year-old Merrill Robertson Jr., of Chesterfield, started Cavalier Union Investments, LLC, and Black Bull Wealth Management, LLC, with co-conspirator Sherman Carl Vaughn.

From 2008-2016, Robertson and Vaughn solicited individuals to invest money in private investment funds that they managed and investment opportunities they proposed.

Officials say Robertson led investors to believe he was an experienced investment advisor, that his company was qualified to serve as a custodian of retirement accounts, that investor money was deposited into individual tax-deferred retirement accounts and that investor money was secured by tangible cash-producing assets owned by his company.

Robertson identified potential investors using contacts he developed playing football at Fork Union Military Academy, the University of Virginia and in the National Football League.

As a result of the conspiracy, the two men fraudulently obtained over $10 million from over 60 investors, spending the money on personal expenses such as mortage and car payments, school tuition, spa visits, restaurants, department stores and vacations.

In 2015, after spending most of the money collected from investors and being unable to raise new investor capital, Robertson offered to help Cavalier investors and other friends by offering loans in exchange for a portion of loan proceeds.

Robertson and others then caused falsified loan applications to be submitted to banks and credit unions on behalf of the individuals, including false statements on the borrower’s personal financial status, the purpose of the loan and whether the loan was secured by collateral.

As a result of his actions, Robertson and others obtained nearly $250,000 by submitting falsified loan applications to at least 15 financial institutions.

Robertson was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. He faces a maximum of 330 years in prison when sentenced in January 2020.

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