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Ex-NFL Player Sentenced in Fraud

September 18, 2000

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Russell Erxleben, the former Texas and NFL kicker, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Monday for bilking investors out of some $50 million.

Erxleben, 43, selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft by New Orleans, pleaded guilty in November 1999 to conspiracy and securities fraud involving hundreds of investors in his Austin Forex International, which traded in foreign currency.

According to investigators, Erxleben used his status as a former Texas and NFL player to attract investors. In addition to trading losses, funds invested in Austin Forex were given to earlier investors as false profits while other funds were spent on luxury office space, luxury cars, entertainment and travel.

About 800 investors lost $50 million in Austin Forex International. Some had invested their life savings, believing the promises of huge returns. Many said they received statements that showed them making money, and that they had no idea they were losing money until the company abruptly closed its office.

U.S. District Judge James Nowlin also fined Erxleben $1 million and ordered him to pay $28 million in restitution.

In sentencing Erxleben, Nowlin dismissed pleas from the parents of the youth football team Erxleben helps coach to delay sentencing until the season is over.

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