Full Court Press Stuffs Tate "The Shot" George With 9 Year Personal Foul

January 25, 2016

 It is 1990 and we're at the regional semi-finals of the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament : the Sweet 16. With only 1 second left -- yeah, 1 second -- Clemson leads the University of Connecticut 70 to 69. UConn's Scott Burrell throws an inbounds pass about the length of the court. Within the remaining second, UConn's Tate George grabs the ball in the corner, shoots from 15 feet out, the buzzer sounds, the ball arcs down, and swish! Game over!  UConn pulls out an amazing win via what has become known as The Shot. It's an amazing moment in college basketball history. Watch and enjoy:

Tate George was the man of the hour; but, as with so many hours in sports, this moment was destined to last about one second and no longer. Although George was drafted 22nd in the National Basketball Association's 1990 draft by the New Jersey Nets, in four years, George's NBA career would be over after averaging a mere 4.2 points per game with the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. He had his one-second of NCAA fame but not a professional career. It's the stuff of Hip Hop, as poignantly noted by Spearhead:

Why Oh Why Do Memories Keep Chasin' Me?

On September 21, 2011, Tate George was named as a defendant in a one-count criminal wire fraud Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ("DNJ"). United States of America v. C. Tate George (Complaint, DNJ, September 21, 2011). The Complaint cited George's role in a purported $2 million real estate development fraud. In March 23, 2012, George, then 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark on four counts of wire fraud, for which he faced 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count. United States of America v. C. Tate George (Indictment, DNJ, March 23, 2012).

How could a love for this game bring so much sadness?

The Indictment alleged that Defendant George had held himself out as the Chief Executive Officer of The George Group, which he misrepresented to potential investors as having over $500 million in  a real estate development portfolio. In reality, The George Group had virtually no income-generating operations. Further, George misrepresented that he had personal assets in excess of $12 million. From that supposedly lofty perch, George solicited investors to fund various real estate development projects. Some of the prospective investors were told that their funds would be safe and sound in an attorney trust account. For added security, George assured various investors that he would personally guarantee the return of their investment with interest.

As more fully set forth in the Indictment:

8. It was further part of the scheme and artifice to defraud that to induce potential investors to invest  their money in The George Group, defendant C. TATE GEORGE would falsely represent to certain investors that their money would be used merely as "show money" - meaning that it would not be spent on real estate development or for any other purpose, but instead would be used to show that The George Group had sufficient assets to complete a real estate development deal - and would be maintained in an "escrow account" or "trust account" until returned to the investor with interest."

Not surprisingly, we learn that George converted and diverted investors' funds: 

12. Contrary to defendant C.TATE GEORGE's representations, defendant C. TATE GEORGE did not use investors' monies to fund The George Group's real estate development business, as promised. Indeed, during the time period relevant to this Indictment, The George Group had virtually no income-generating operations at all. Instead of using investor money to fund real estate development projects, defendant C. TATE GEORGE used investor money primarily (a) to pay defendant C. TATE GEORGE's personal expenses - including funding home improvement projects on his personal residence and paying day-to-day living expenses, such as meals at restaurants, clothing, and gas - and, (b) to make principal and interest payments to existing investors.

I Think I Must Have Placed Some Stupid Bets

Between 2005 and 2011, George obtained over $2 million in investments for The George Group; said funds, however, were deposited in both the The George Group's and Defendant George's personal bank account. Moreover, rather than being invested in the touted real estate projects, the funds were used to repay prior investors a la Ponzi; and, other funds were used to pay for:

  • George's daughter's sixteenth birthday party,
  • extensive renovations on his New Jersey home (that has since been foreclosed),
  • the mortgage on a New Jersey home,
  • the mortgage on a Florida home,
  • taxes to the IRS, and
  • traffic tickets.
Additionally, George gave money to family members and friends. He also spent $2,905 for a reality video (posted on YouTube) about himself. See this YouTube video apparently shot in 2009 as part of a reality show promo for George:

But Off the Court He Had A Few Temptations Copulations

Following a three-week trial, after only four hours of deliberation, on September 30, 2013, a jury convicted George on all four counts.  

On January 21, 2015, George was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison plus three years of supervised release. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $2.55 million in restitution to 17 victims (including one corporation) and the Court also entered a $2.55 million forfeiture money judgment.  As noted in "Former NBA Player And CEO Of The George Group Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison For Role In A $2 Million Ponzi Scheme" (Press Release, United States Attorney's Office, 16-027, January 21, 2016)"

During the sentencing proceeding, prosecutors asserted George had presented the court with fraudulent character witness letters. The defendant claimed the letters, which contained suspicious similarities, were sent to the court in support of a more lenient sentence. Some of the individuals who purportedly sent the letters signed declarations stating that they did not write the letters nor did they authorize the letters to be sent to the court on their behalf.

READ the Criminal Complaint

READ the Indictment