Two People Charged With Defrauding NBA Players of $3 Million

by April 26, 2013

Federal prosecutors have laid charges on two people from Prim Capital, the firm that once employed former NBA union chief Billy Hunter’s son. The feds allege that Prim illegally obtained $3 million in fees over five years from the Players Association. Per the NY Daily News: “Charges were filed by the U.S. Attorneys office in Manhattan against Joseph Lombardo and Carolyn Kaufman of Cleveland-based Prim Capital Corporation. The pair faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the count charging obstruction of justice, as well as a maximum fine of $250,000. They were arrested at their Ohio residences and appeared in federal court in Cleveland. They will appear in Manhattan federal court next Thursday. Neither Hunter, 70, who was fired for questionable business practices last February after leading the union for 17 years, nor his son, Todd Hunter, were named in the charges. The feds and other authorities began looking into Prim’s financial dealings with the NBA’s union after the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison released a scathing review of Hunter’s business dealings this past January. In its capacity as the primary outside investment firm for the players from 2001-2013, Prim and the union entered into a five-year contract deal, at $602,000 per year in 2011. The contract contained a highly-unusual provision that it could not be cancelled for any reason by the NBAPA and was allegedly signed by Gary Hall, the former NBAPA general counsel who died in March, 2011. But the investigation revealed that the signature of Hall was not authentic, while also finding that the signature of one other NBAPA employee, who was not identified, was also forged. The probe revealed that Lombardo, 72, of Gates Mills, Ohio, arranged for the creation of a signature stamp, capable of stamping “Gary A. Hall,” and used the stamp to falsify Hall’s signature months after his death. Billy Hunter has said that he knew nothing of the $3 million contract and did not sign the document. In its investigation, the U.S. Attorney and two other investigative arms of the U.S. Department of Labor also found that Hunter’s signature was not on the contract.”