Cautionary fraud tale for pro athletes with sudden wealth

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina financial planner’s prison sentence for stealing from pro football players offers a cautionary tale to young athletes set to make millions after the NFL draft.

The instant millionaires may know where they’ll be playing professional football, but they’re still figuring out how to manage their newfound wealth.

Pro leagues and athletes’ unions offer education on how to avoid scams. But legal scholars say there are limits to their ability to regulate financial advisers, and they say players need to do their homework. The NFL Players Association runs a registry for financial advisers, but it’s voluntary.

North Carolina financial planner Michael Rowan was recently sentenced to prison for stealing nearly $3 million from clients. Several NFL players also sued his firm, alleging they were steered to questionable investments.