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Athletes' Advisor Charged With Investment Thefts

August 29, 1997|From Associated Press

A business partner of San Diego Charger linebacker Junior Seau was charged Thursday with 38 felony violations for allegedly stealing more than $9 million in investments from professional athletes.

John W. Gillette Jr., an investment advisor who owned Pro Sports Management, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and bail was set at $250,000. Gillette is charged with 37 counts of grand theft and one count of forgery.

Of the $9,298,655 missing, $5.6 million had been invested by NFL players. Hardest hit was Dallas Cowboy safety Darren Woodson, who lost $2.5 million.

Others involved and the amounts each lost: Seau, $1.25 million; Washington Redskin safety Stanley Richard, $1.25 million; Jacksonville Jaguar tackle Tony Boselli, $250,000; Jaguar quarterback Rob Johnson, $150,000; New Orleans Saint safety Je'Rod Cherry, $100,000, and Detroit Lion receiver Johnnie Morton, $100,000.

San Francisco 49er receiver J.J. Stokes was named as a victim in the forgery charge against Gillette, but no financial loss was listed.

"The pattern is that people who put their investments in Pro Sports Management had their money stolen," San Diego District Attorney Paul Pfingst said at a news conference.

Investigators believe Gillette moved money out of investors' accounts for outside investments or for his personal use.

Pfingst said Gillette "led a very, very affluent lifestyle in dealing with these professional athletes. And in all likelihood, it was led on their money."

Seau, who is believed to be a 50-50 partner with Gillette in a restaurant, was not available for comment.

Others who lost money are former San Diego Padres Greg Harris, $720,000, and Scott Coolbaugh, $100,000, and former Florida Marlin outfielder Mark Kotsay, $350,000.

Eight minor league baseball players who invested signing bonuses with Gillette lost $950,000, according to Pfingst.


Mississippi State football Coach Jackie Sherrill paid private investigators as much as $10,000 to help Derrick Taite fight rape charges in 1993, the former quarterback's mother says in court documents in Pascagoula, Miss. .

The charges stemmed from a campus incident that resulted in a Mississippi State student filing charges against Taite and three other players. A grand jury heard the case but never issued an indictment.

Documents obtained by the Mississippi Press show that Sherrill paid $10,000 to private investigators to help Taite defend himself after he was charged with attempted rape.

Taite's mother, Gwendolyn Blackmon, testified in divorce proceedings earlier this year that at the time the rape case was under investigation by an Oktibbeha County grand jury, Sherrill paid two private investigators $5,000 apiece.

In the court document, dated March 10, Blackmon testified that she and her then-husband, Johnny Blackmon, did not incur any expenses for Taite's legal defense.

It was unclear whether Sherrill's alleged actions in helping clear Taite's name violated NCAA rules concerning "extra benefits" for student-athletes.

Clay Bolton, the NCAA compliance officer at Mississippi State, claimed that the NCAA apparently knew of the matter and had thoroughly investigated it. Bolton, who was not at Mississippi State at the time of the incident, said it was his understanding that the school had been cleared of any wrongdoing.


France's Fabrice Tarnaud shot a nine-under-par 63 and took the first-round lead at the BMW Open at Munich, Germany as European players scrambled to make the Ryder Cup team.

England's Peter Baker, who would need to win the $1.2-million tournament to make the European team, was one shot back at 64, along with compatriot Carl Watts, South Africa's Wayne Westner and Swedes Peter Hedblom and Patrik Sjoland.

Jose Maria Olazabal, 11th in the Ryder Cup standings, shot a 67. He needs a top-20 finish to clinch the 10th and final automatic spot on the Ryder Cup team.


Eastern Michigan's Earl Boykins scored 17 points as the United States extended its men's basketball winning streak to 31 at the World University Games by defeating Italy, 67-51, at Catania, Sicily.

The U.S., which last lost to host Yugoslavia in the 1987 gold-medal game, will go for its fifth consecutive title against Canada, which defeated Brazil, 85-58, in the other semifinal.

In swimming, Japan's women won two gold and two silver medals and Cuba also won two gold, including one by Olympic bronze medalist Neisser Bent in the men's 100-meter backstroke.

Naseem Hamed of Britain has given up his International Boxing Federation featherweight title to avoid a mandatory defense against Hector Lizarraga.

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