by Josh Brandsdorfer
Just a few weeks ago, FINRA took action against a Broward County financial advisor who persuaded current and former NFL players to make high-risk – and now worthless – investments in a failed Alabama casino. Jeffery Rubin, a financial advisor from Lighthouse Point, was found to have “taken advantage of the professional athletes who placed their trust in him,” according to FINRA’s executive vice president and chief of enforcement, Brad Bennett. Rubin’s actions resulted in FINRA barring him from the securities industry.
Rubin’s clients include many high profile athletes with South Florida ties, such as Fred Taylor, Terrell Owens, Santana Moss, and Samari Rolle. Rolle was one of the first athletes to complain about Rubin and later filed documents against Rubin with FINRA. “Many unsuitable and misrepresented investments and services were provided by” Rubin, according to Rolle. FINRA supported Rolle’s claim, further alleging that Rubin had made “unsuitable recommendations” to invest in “illiquid, high-risk securities issued in connection with the now-bankrupt casino in Alabama.”
Even worse, Rubin breached his fiduciary duty to his clients after he received a 4% ownership stake and $500,000 from the project promoter for the referral investments from the NFL players. Rubin recommended that the players invest in the Center Stage Alabama entertainment complex for more than three years, until the casino filed for bankruptcy while owing $68 million in 2011.
While current professional football players continue to turn to Rubin for investment advice, Jacob Zamansky, a New York securities fraud attorney said that the companies Rubin was working for at the time of the alleged investments can be held responsible as well for the huge losses incurred by the football players even though Rubin did not tell his former bosses about the casino investments. Zamansky acknowledges the need for accountability on behalf of both Rubin and his employer in instances such as this one because many of the players cannot go back to the NFL and earn back the money that they lost due to the short earning career of a professional athlete.