S.C. Group Charged With Fraud
Jan. 11, 2001
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A Columbia management group defrauded several prominent athletes _ including Stephen Davis of the Washington Redskins and the University of Georgia's Quincy Carter _ of out millions of dollars, according to a federal indictment.
Authorities said Darnell Jones, 38, and James Brown, 52, operators of Summit Management Group Ltd., were charged with fraud and money laundering in the 56-count indictment.
Mike Parker, a U.S. Postal Service inspector who worked on the case, estimated Summit's clients lost between $3 million and $5 million.
Parker said Summit representatives persuaded high-profile college or high school athletes to sign with them as financial managers. Many players also signed over their powers of attorney to allow the group to pay bills and make investments.
The group promised to make conservative, long-term, low-risk investments, the indictment said.
One federal investigator said the case of Corey Jenkins of Columbia, a former first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox who will enroll at the University of South Carolina in the fall to play quarterback, was particularly disheartening.
Currently at Garden City Community College in Kansas, Jenkins gave Summit his $575,000 signing bonus from Boston. The company was supposed to use some of the money to pay bills, such as car and house payments, but never did, according to the indictment.
``Those guys just disappeared. No good-bye. No nothing,'' Jenkins said. ``These guys got away with murder, at least for a while. And we're the ones who have suffered.''
At least five victims, including Jenkins, Travis ``Gookie'' Dawkins of the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets coach Mookie Wilson, have sued the group.
Some athletes, like Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders, became involved with Summit and got out before suffering significant losses.
But Summit used Woodson's high profile as the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Michigan to its advantage, according to the indictment.