National Hockey League Players were the primary victims of a series of fraudulent investment schemes orchestrated by financial adviser Phillip Kenner and former professional race car driver Tommy Hormovitis. Collectively, the players others lost about $15 million. The court papers charge conspiracy, conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud. U.S. v. Kenner, No. 13-CR-607 (E.D.N.Y. Unsealed Nov. 13, 2013).
Phillip Kenner met a future NHL player while attending college. Subsequently, Mr. Kenner became a licensed financial adviser in Boston. From 1994 through 2003 he used his college connection who had joined the NHL to build a client list which included several professional hockey players. The list became the foundation for his firm which he opened in 2003.
From the opening of his firm, and continuing to the present, Mr. Kenner advised a number of NHL players regarding their investments. He counseled them to participate in a number of investment schemes which were fraudulent. Those included:
The Hawaii scheme: This was a real estate investment scheme in Hawaii. Mr. Kenner solicited thirteen players, convincing them to invest $100,000 each and open lines of credit which he controlled. In addition, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. was convinced to invest $2 million. The funds were to be used to develop real estate on the big island. Instead, Messrs. Kenner and Constantine diverted the money to their personal use. The victims lost over $13 million.
The Eufora Scheme: This was a prepaid debit card business, initiated in 2002. Mr. Kenner informed the NHL players who put $1.4 million into the scheme that Eufora was an up and coming business. Another investor was convinced to put up about $200,000. Most of the money was in fact diverted to an account controlled by Mr. Constantine. Investors lost about $1.5 million.
Global settlements scheme: Beginning in May 2009 Messrs. Kenner and Constantine convinced players to invest about $4.1 million in a plan which called for funding an attorney’s escrow account, the Global Settlement Fund. The fund would be used to finance litigation related to Mexican land deals. Most of the money was diverted to the personal use of the defendants. The players lost about $1 million.
Sag Harbor scheme: In this scheme Mr. Kenner acquired a 25% interest in real property in Sag Harbor, New York by taking $395,000 from a player’s line of credit. The player was unaware of the transaction. He then convinced a second player to purchase what was supposed to be a 50% interest in the deal for $375,000. The player, however, received papers showing that he only had a 25% interest. The investors sold the property at a loss. Mr. Kenner then filed a lawsuit in Arizona against one of the investors in connection with the property.
The defendants were arrested in Arizona and appeared in court on Wednesday. The case is pending.