Russell Erxleben is a former NFL kicker and punter that you’ve never heard of. In 1979, he was a first round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, playing for five seasons in the NFL (plus one 52-yard punt for the Detroit Lions in 1987). In 1977 while at the University of Texas, he made a 67-yard field goal, which still stands as the NCAA record.
Erxleben’s short-lived NFL career eventually gave way to Ponzi schemes, except Erxleben was the Ponzier, and not the Ponzied. Back in 1999, Erxleben scammed investors out of $36 million and earned himself an 84-month prison sentence, a $1 million fine and another $28 million in restitution charges. But after his release in 2005, Erxleben hopped right back on the Ponzi train and began scamming some more investors, to whom he conveniently forgot to mention that he was a convicted felon for, uh, scamming investors.
Via the AP:
“According to a federal indictment, the 56-year-old Erxleben scammed investors from 2005 to 2009 with fraudulent deals that promoted dealing in post-World War I German government bonds and a work of art purportedly by French painter Paul Gauguin.
According to the indictment, Erxleben used the investments to pay himself and previous investors. Erxleben was indicted on five counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud and two counts of money laundering. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the wire and securities fraud charges, and up to 10 years on the money laundering charge.”
Erxleben will be held in custody until January 28th, his next court appearance. But this investigation in particular appears to date all the way back to 2008, when his parole officer submitted a court filing which stated that the Texas State Securities Board was sniffing around his new investment scam. In June of 2009, a man claimed Erxleben had sold bonds to himself and others, but never actually handed them over. Later that year in October, authorities executed a search warrant at his office – and Exerlben referred to the investigation as a “witch hunt,” going so far as to accuse investigators of stealing a briefcase full of German bonds from his truck.
All of which is to say, don’t trust your money with NFL kickers. They have a bad track record.