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Bad Advisors

Ex-NFL Players Get Scammed by Trusted Lawyer and Adviser

December 10, 2019

by Howard Haykin



A number of ex-NFL players recently encountered a problem that afflicts many retired elderly investors. They were abused by so-called ‘trusted’ advisers at a time when they were most physically and mentally vulnerable, and when it came time to invest their funds.



Attorney Phillip Howard was a ‘trusted’ adviser to these players, representing them in their class action lawsuit against the National Football League over brain injuries they incurred from concussions during their careers. During this time, Howard acknowledged that his clients’ “brain function is not there, their body has been beat up from the NFL, they don’t have employment capacity, they don’t have credit, and they don’t have capital anymore.”


Yet, little did that matter when it came time in 2015 and 2016 for Phillip Howard and his co-conspirator, Don Reinhard, to raise monies for Cambridge Capital Group Advisors. The pair utilized lies and misrepresentations to lure these players into investing over $4 million – with much of that money coming from players’ 401(k) retirement accounts (inasmuch as the class-action lawsuit did not settle until 2018).


  • Howard touted Reinhard as an adviser and a consultant to Cambridge, and vouched for Reinhard’s investment expertise and trustworthiness, even though Reinhard had a criminal record and was barred from serving with an investment adviser. Reinhard currently is incarcerated at a Florida state prison.


  • Howard and Reinhard assured the players and their families that their money would be safely invested in a diverse portfolio of public and private securities and financial products, so as to generate capital gains and interest income. But the players’ funds were invested almost entirely in settlement advances to former NFL players – including 18 of the 20 investors with Cambridge Capital.


  • And, once the investors’ funds were inHoward and Reinhard misappropriated more than 20% of those funds, or $973,000. They paid themselves $361,000 in 'broker fees' in connection with the NFL settlement advances. Howard further misappropriated $612,000 to pay off his personal mortgage loans.



SAFEGUARDING ELDERLY AND IMPAIRED INVESTORS.    Among other things, these players could have employed the following safeguards: (i) hired a money manager with no affiliation to the class-action attorney; and, (ii) relied on a trusted ‘financial watchdog’ to evaluate all investment options and investigate the credentials of all principal players.



 [For further details on this case, click on SEC Press Release, or SEC Litigation Complaint.]