Ex-Sonics Special Assistant Accused of $4M Wire Fraud, Ponzi Scam

Steve Gordon, who used to be the special assistant to the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team, has been charged with federal wire fraud. Gordon is accused of using false pretenses to initiate at least $4 million in business deals. The criminal charges come after a 10-month probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Gordon, who also worked with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Portland Trail Blazers, is accused of creating a Ponzi scam that involved at least 30 investors. Newer investors’ money was allegedly used to pay earlier investors their promised returns.

The wire fraud count accuses him of using misrepresentations, fraudulent promises and false pretenses, and concealing material facts to solicit money from investors. He also purportedly used his friendship with ex-Microsoft SCEO Steve Ballmer by falsely claiming that the billionaire was his partner and financial backer. However, according to the fraud charges, Ballmer never promised to give Gordon any money.

Gordon is said to have used that relationship and his connections with NBA players to secure partnerships with financial and legal professionals to give him more credibility. During phone calls to potential investors he allegedly had someone pretend to be Ballmer, as well as different government officials who supposedly were involved in overseeing the financial and banking industries.

One investor, ex-Australian basketball player Wayne Carroll, said that he and Knox Basketball, the amateur basketball federation in Australia of which Carroll is executive director, paid Gordon $4,000 monthly for two years as a consultant. Carroll said that Gordon told him Ballmer was ready to invest in big basketball promotion ventures in China and Australia. However, the deal with Ballmer never happened.

Gordon is also accused of telling investors that Ballmer promised to help him establish a multi-million dollar fund and get him a position as a minority owner in the Sonics in the future-both were lies. In 2013, Ballmer cut all ties with Gordon.

Steve Gordon, Sonics special assistant, charged with federal wire fraud, The Seattle Times, April 20, 2015

Ponzi scam, SEC

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Madoff Ponzi Scam Victims Recover Over $10 Billion, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, December 5, 2014

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