An Alabama attorney allegedly defrauded professional athletes and other investors out of millions of dollars, which he claimed would be used to develop waste-to-energy projects, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commissions.
Earlier this month the SEC filed charges against Donald Watkins and his companies, Watkins Pencor and Masada Resource Group.
According to the complaint, Watkins falsely told investors that their funds would support waste-to-energy ventures. Instead, he spent the money on his girlfriend and to cover personal expenses like alimony, past due taxes and credit card bills.
Watkins also allegedly falsely claimed that Waste Management was seriously considering acquiring Watkins Pencor, Masada, and its affiliated companies in a multi-billion-dollar transaction.
According to the complaint, Waste Management’s interest never advanced past a brief initial meeting in August 2012, more than a year after the defendants began telling investors that negotiations were progressing and that the acquisition was imminent.
“We allege that Watkins duped investors into believing that there was a lucrative transaction on the horizon, when in fact there was none,” said Walter Jospin, regional director of the SEC’s Atlanta regional office.
At press time Watkins could not be reached for comment.
In 2013, Thomas Global Group, a company owned by former New York Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas, sued Watkins and his businesses, claiming he was defrauded of a $1 million investment in a waste-to-energy company, Bloomberg reports.