It really makes no sense to me that some of these people can steal millions of dollars from people, and get a cushy prison sentence in some white collar prison, while someone can get caught selling a pound of weed and get put in the scariest place on Earth.http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2011/au ... n-in-scam/
PRO SPORTS: Heisman winner says he lost $2 million in scam
By The Associated Press
Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:47 p.m.
AUSTIN — Former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer lost most of his life savings with an investment manager accused of running a scam that prosecutors say targeted former professional athletes.
Kurt Barton, former chief executive of Triton Financial, went on trial in federal court this week. He's accused of building a $50 million Ponzi scheme that cheated hundreds of investors nationwide.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that Detmer was the first witness called Monday. He fought back tears while testifying that he had lost about $2 million since investing with Triton in 2005.
"You lose money, that's one thing," Detmer said from the witness stand. "But I feel like all I've ever tried to do was just do the right thing."
Other athletes who prosecutors say invested with or promoted Triton were Heisman winners Earl Campbell and Chris Weinke and former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake. The athletes are not accused of wrongdoing.
Barton faces dozens of criminal charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud securities fraud and money laundering.
Barton's attorney, Rip Collins, said in opening statements that Barton tried to run a legitimate business by was hurt by the financial downfall that began in 2007.
"Ponzi schemes don't .... go out and invest money, don't hire lawyers as compliance officers," Collins said.
Prosecutors allege that Barton repeatedly lied to investors and tried to get a loan with a doctored document that showed he had $6 million in an account when he really had only $6,000.
Prosecutors said Barton wanted to hang out with NFL players and used money that investors thought was for real estate deals to pay for a luxury box at University of Texas football games, a $150,000 car and family trips on private jets.
Detmer, who moved to Austin in 2000, said he met Barton through his church and became good friends with him. Detmer said he gave Barton control over most of his savings, even taking a penalty for cashing out a $1.2 million annuity because Barton told him he could quickly earn it back. Detmer was also asked to help recruit other investors.
"I trusted him with everything," Detmer said.
Detmer, who now coaches football at a private school in Austin, said he had to cash out the college savings plans for his two youngest daughters and sell his house.