Founder of Prim Capital pleads guilty to defraudment of NBPA
The 72-year-old founder of an investment firm hired by former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter plead guilty to fraud and obstruction of justice.
Let's start from the beginning. Former NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter hired an investment firm called Prim Capital back before he was removed from office last year after an investigation found a prolific history of improper business behavior on the part of his office. Among the many improprieties, it was alleged that Prim Capital was brought on beause Hunter's son chaired the firm.
After the NBPA cut ties with the firm, the AP reports that the 72-year-old founder of Prim Capital has plead guilty on charges of mail fraud and obstruction of justice in an effort to defraud the NBPA of up to $3 million.
Prosecutors say Joseph Lombardo, the founder of Ohio-based Prim Capital Corporation, pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court Thursday to mail fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Authorities say Lombardo used a stamp to forge the signature of a deceased general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association and another employee, a move that awarded Prim a $3 million fee over five years.
Lombardo faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced March 20. His lawyer says his client "is a good man who made some very poor decisions."
The players are just now discovering that over the years, Hunter and his decisions may have cost them millions of dollars that could have been better spent helping current players or preparing ex-players for life beyond basketball. New President Chris Paul, who took over for Derek Fisher over the summer, has a lot of work to do to restore the strength of the union, it seeems.
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