Ex-NBA star sues Merrill Lynch over alleged $17M fraud
An ex-NBA player is suing Merrill Lynch and his former advisor at the firm for more than $17 million for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and trading without consent, among other misconduct.
Kwame Brown was professional basketball player from 2001 to 2015 and played for teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards. He became a Merrill Lynch client in 2005, according to his lawsuit filed Thursday in a California state court in Los Angeles.
Brown says Marquez began overseeing his account in 2010, and thereafter began making financial decisions without his consent, according to the complaint. Marquez opened accounts in Brown's name and traded in them without his knowledge, he claims.
One couple in their eighties invested more than $700,000 with the alleged schemers, representing almost the entirety of their cashed-out pension, regulators say.April 10
Overall, the advisor defrauded at least nine clients out of $1 million, which he used to pay for tuition and mortgage payments, federal prosecutors say.May 8
At one point, the remaining balance on a $1.1 million construction loan Brown had taken out was converted into a credit line without his consent and used to make trades he had not authorized, the former pro athlete charges.
Then last year, another Merrill Lynch employee allegedly told Brown that he not only had no money left in his accounts, but that he had given Marquez discretion over his investments since 2010 ― something he claims he never did. Brown says he has obtained account documents with his signature that he believes to have been forged, according to court documents.
Merrill Lynch and Marquez allegedly mishandled or misappropriated about $17.4 million, according to Brown, who is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
Merrill Lynch had no immediate comment.
Marquez could not be reached for immediate comment.