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Former NBA Player Accuses Merrill Lynch of Forged Signatures and “Stealing” $17.4 Million

The list of athletes that the mainstream media has covered going broke over the last couple of decades always seems to chalk up a couple of new victims each year. It doesn’t come as any surprise that just because you are 7 feet tall and highly proficient dunking a basketball that you don’t automatically understand how to manage your money.

The latest victim of either his own actions or a corrupt investment banking system – it remains to be seen – was Kwame Brown, the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft, who went on to play for 7 different NBA teams.

Brown is now suing Merrill Lynch, who he alleged “stole” $17.4 million of his money that he left under management. Bloomberg reported last week:

Former professional basketball player Kwame Brown is crying foul on Merrill Lynch, saying the brokerage stole $17.4 million of his investments.

Brown said in a lawsuit that his signature was forged on various authorization forms and agreements, allowing his financial adviser to make investments and stock trades without his consent.

The fact that Brown alleges that his signature was forged on documents changes this story from a “mismanaged money” story to a “possible full on fraud” story. How did Brown find out about this mismanagement? He made a routine request for a list of his investments with Merrill Lynch and instead of being told about the fixed income his $17.4 million was making him in ETFs, he was simply told that he didn’t have any money at all with Merrill Lynch.

When Brown sought an accounting of his investments last year, he was told he had no monies with Merrill Lynch, according to his complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles.

That must have been an interesting phone call. Complex had more details of the lawsuit, which also alleges his money manager, Michelle Marquez, failed to pay off loans that Brown requested, traded stock without his consent, and opened bank accounts under Brown’s name:

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