The Columbus Dispatch (via HoopsHype) has a curious story today concerning an alleged con man Haider Zafar who is awaiting trial in Columbus, Ohio for swindling a businessman out of more than $13 million dollars in a phony real estate scam.
Even more interesting is the testimony provided by a witness that helped convince the judge to keep Zafar, who is originally from Pakistan but had taken residence in South Florida, behind bars until the federal trial begins.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale Williams put international-investment attorney Andrew Fine on the stand during the detention hearing to detail an investment scheme Zafar operated in Florida.
Fine said some Miami Heat players, including former forward Mike Miller, and other Florida residents had invested $8 million with Zafar. When Fine, on behalf of some of those investors, questioned Zafar about where the money was, Zafar told him, "They can't touch me in Pakistan."
No word yet on which other Heat players were swindled, or if there are more players involved from other teams. Miller has since moved on to the Memphis Grizzlies after being amnestied from the Heat, though he will still be paid by the champs for his original contract signed in 2010. Let's hope he spends his money a little more wisely next time he wants to invest it.
The Associated Press reported the identities of two more Heat players that were involved with Zafar...
The other players are forward Rashard Lewis and guard James Jones, a person with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because it is an active investigation.
The Heat, in a statement Friday, said the team remains in "constant contact" with the authorities handling the investigation.
The Miami Herald also has this statement from a Heat attorney, along with the news that Heat employees in addition to the players were also scammed...
An attorney for the Heat confirmed that some of the organization's current and former players and personnel got tangled up in an investment scheme, but he declined to discuss the matter further, citing an ongoing investigation.
"We were distressed to learn that the Heat and members of the Heat family were victimized by an elaborate fraud," Heat attorney Alan H. Fein said in a statement to the Miami Herald. "We remain in constant contact with the appropriate federal authorities investigating this fraud and its perpetrators."
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