A federal jury in Richmond, Virginia returned another guilty verdict against Merrill Robertson, Jr. in a second criminal trial. The former football player for the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles was charged with defrauding 60 investors, including coaches he knew from his time playing for the Fork Union Military Academy and the University of Virginia. Robertson was convicted on these charges for the first time in August 2017 and was sentenced to forty years in prison in December 2017.
The DI Wire previously reported the initial criminal charges against Robertson. This new guilty verdict stemmed from the same complaint filed with the SEC, which alleged that Robertson, co-conspirator Sherman C. Vaughn Jr. and the company they co-owned, Cavalier Union Investment, LLC, promised to invest in diversified holding.
They claimed that Cavalier used the money to invest in a broad range of business ventures, including restaurants, real estate, alternative energy, and assisted living facilities. The company became insolvent shortly after launching, yet the pair continued to solicit and accept funds from new investors. They even sent investors fake account statements that misrepresented that investors’ assets were held in a nonexistent investment fund, such as “Cavalier Union Investments LLC Bond Fund B.”
Instead, the pair stole nearly $6 million of the more than $10 million they raised from approximately 60 investors. They spent the stolen money on personal expenses such as cars, family vacations, repayment of mortgage and credit card debt, luxury goods, clothing, entertainment, educational expenses for family members, and a luxury suite at a football stadium.
At the time of the alleged misconduct, Robertson and Vaughn were not registered brokers with the SEC.
In the first SEC case, the Court previously entered final judgments against Robertson and Vaughn that ordered them to pay over $8 million in disgorgement and permanently bar them from violating the registration and antifraud provisions. Vaughn previously pled guilty in the criminal case.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated Robertson’s conviction and remanded the case to the district court. He will be sentenced for the second time on January 3, 2020.