Alliance of American Football investor Reggie Fowler was arrested Tuesday on charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which both carry a maximum of 30 years in prison, according to Sports Illustrated.
He’s also facing charges of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business in addition to conspiracy to operate such a business. Each of those charges carries a maximum of five years as well.
Fowler, a former minority stakeholder in the Vikings, committed to becoming AAF’s primary investor by promising more than $25 million to the organization for its inaugural season. But the money started coming in too slowly, raising questions and concerns from the league.
Withdrawals from Fowler’s various foreign and domestic bank accounts suddenly were frozen at the end of December, which stopped a key source of the league’s funding, SI.com reports. From there, Tom Dundon (owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes) stepped in as the league’s new primary investor and promised to invest $250 million, which league officials believed would carry the AAF through its first three years.
Dundon’s investment proved not to be enough as the league folded early last month and filed for bankruptcy. It ceased operations with just two weeks to play in its inaugural regular season, catching players, coaches, vendors and venues by surprise and many have not been paid in full by the league.
The move brought economic uncertainty, forcing many players to book their own flights home, while “others, some of whom had literally crammed their kids’ cribs into hotel rooms, searched for places to stay,” according to SI.com. Leases for stadiums and other venues were not honored.
The AAF claimed assets of $11.3 million and liabilities of $48.3 million, but has only $536,160.68 in cash, according to records obtained by Front Office Sports.
Players eventually were allowed to sign with NFL and CFL teams, but the AAF tried to hold on to its assets for as long as it could.