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Injunction Sought Vs. Sports Agent

March 9, 2000

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Sports agent William ``Tank″ Black destroyed the investment savings of some two dozen professional athletes and should not be allowed to continue his dealings or purge his records, federal lawyers said Wednesday.

Defense attorneys say a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission is an attempt to railroad Black, whose clientele included about 35 professional football and basketball players.

Over the last several years, Black’s company, Professional Management, Inc., has represented such NFL players as Fred Taylor, Germane Crowell, Duce Staley, Ike Hilliard and Jacquez Green, and the NBA’s Vince Carter.

The SEC filed suit last month, claiming Black and colleagues violated securities laws by defrauding clients, skimming profits, accepting kickbacks, misappropriating funds and charging for services not provided.

Black would advise financially unsophisticated clients to invest substantial amounts of money in fraudulent investments that lost them millions of dollars, according to a complaint that seeks to bar Black from destroying any business documents.

Black’s attorney, Michael Wolensky, said the government should have to prove the allegations at trial, rather than rely on the one-sided declaration from an SEC attorney.

``No one can really be sure and, certainly without the opportunity for cross examination, no one may ever know what occurred,″ Wolensky said in court documents opposing the SEC’s bid for a preliminary injunction.

He also asked that some of Black’s assets be unfrozen so Black, 42, of Columbia, S.C., can pay living expenses.

A hearing on the requests is scheduled for Thursday.

The SEC claims Black and business partner James Franklin Jr. collected at least $5 million through various schemes to defraud athletes.

In one case, the SEC said, Black and Franklin advised clients to invest millions in high-yield promissory notes they said would finance an auto title loan company called Cash 4 Titles.

In fact, the SEC said, Black and Franklin had a secret arrangement with the promoters of the promissory notes that allowed them to skim their clients’ profits and put the money into a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme run out of the Cayman Islands.

In a Ponzi scheme, money from recent investors is used to pay returns to earlier investors.

Wolensky said Black was a victim in a scheme run by others and lost $400,000 of his own money.

Black additionally is charged in a separate case with money laundering and fraud. He is accused of scheming players out of millions of dollars through a series of elaborate plots.

Trial in that criminal case is scheduled for May 1 at Gainesville.

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