STORRS, Conn. (CBS Connecticut/AP) – During his testimony, former University of Connecticut basketball player Tate George denied several accusations against him from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
CBS Connecticut previously learned that George stands accused of perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that reportedly earned him $2 million between 2005 and 2011. George continued to deny any wrongdoing during his testimony on Wednesday, the Hartford Courant is reporting.
Specifically, the former Husky shot down claims made by the FBI that he had lied to investors when he estimated the worth of his real estate investment company’s portfolio to be around $500 million – a figure he claims is accurate but prosecutors maintain is false. The prosecution also asserted that George wildly inflated the amount of his net worth when he put it at $12 million.
George also denied allegations that his girlfriend was given money paid to him by an investor, referring to the transfer of funds instead as a “developer’s fee.”
George, also a former NBA player, broke down early on in the day, the Courant learned, when asked about his business mentor and self-described “father figure” Howard Trachtenberg, and during questions from the defense regarding what he had lost amid the scandal.
“The biggest thing was my reputation,” George said in response to the latter query, his voice reportedly cracking with emotion.
Prosecutors say George used money investors sank into his purported real estate firm to pay previous investors or for home improvements and personal expenses.
Despite George’s claims of innocence, Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva testified Tuesday that he was swindled out of $250,000 by his fellow Connecticut alum, The Trentonian newspaper (http://bit.ly/19f8DrV ) reports.
George spent four seasons in the NBA, with the New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. But he’s best known for catching a full-court pass and sinking a jumper at the buzzer to give UConn a victory in a 1990 NCAA regional semifinal against Clemson.
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