Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Professional golfer David Toms was sued by R. Allen Stanford’s receiver for $905,087 in profits Toms earned from certificates of deposit sold by Stanford International Bank, the Antiguan bank prosecutors claim was the center of a $7 billion investment fraud.
Toms, who has earned $33 million in his PGA Tour career to date, “previously entered into a sponsorship and endorsement relationship’’ with some of Stanford’s companies, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Dallas by Ralph Janvey, Stanford’s court-appointed receiver.
Toms and his company “either performed no services for the CD proceeds they received (or) performed services that did not constitute reasonably equivalent value’’ in exchange for CD proceeds he received in 2007 and 2008, Janvey said.
Janvey has sued hundreds of other Stanford investors who, like Toms, are considered net winners, in that they received more proceeds than they originally invested in their Stanford CDs. These so-called clawback suits seek to repay more than 20,000 investors by recovering funds from the few investors who cashed out CDs before Stanford’s companies were seized by U.S. regulators in February 2009 on allegations of fraud.
Adam Young, Toms’s representative, said the golfer wasn’t a net winner because he hadn’t invested in any Stanford CDs.
‘No Offshore Bank’
“He never had any Stanford CDs,’’ Young said in a telephone interview today. “He had a straight brokerage account, all 100 percent legit, no offshore bank.’’
Young said Toms had an endorsement contract with Stanford Financial Group, the financier’s broker-dealer unit, from November 2006 through August 2008. The company sponsored “at least a half-dozen other players’’ on the pro circuit during the same timeframe, Young said.
The company paid Toms through a brokerage account it opened for him, which was invested in regularly traded securities, Young said. Toms’s account was frozen in early 2009 along with other Stanford Financial Group investor accounts when regulators sued Stanford for fraud. The golfer didn’t regain access to his money until the frozen accounts were released by court order last year, Young said.
“David was paid $600,000 total, or $300,000 a year, and his final portfolio was worth less than $385,000 at time his assets became ‘unfrozen,’’’ Young said. “ The lawsuit for nearly a million is quite an interesting figure.’’
Toms’s attorney, Robert Dunkelman, of Shreveport, Louisiana, declined in a brief telephone interview to comment on Janvey’s lawsuit until he’d had the chance to read it.
12 Tour Wins
Toms, 44, isn’t accused of knowing about or participating in the alleged fraud scheme. Toms is seventh in career PGA Tour earnings and has 12 PGA Tour wins, according to the David Toms Foundation’s website.
Stanford, 60, is in jail awaiting trial on allegations he bilked investors of more than $7 billion by paying above-market returns to early buyers of his Antiguan bank certificates with funds taken from later CD buyers. Stanford has denied all wrongdoing and has asked for a two-year delay in his trial, currently set to begin later this month, to give his lawyers time to prepare his defense.
The case is Janvey v. Toms, 3:11-cv-00018, U.S. District Courts, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).
The criminal case is U.S. v. Stanford, 09cr342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston). The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank, 09cv298, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).
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