SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 17604 / July 9, 2002
United States v. William H. Black, et al., No. 1:00CR15 SPM (N.D. Fla.)
JAMES A. FRANKLIN, JR., FORMER IN-HOUSE ATTORNEY TO PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AGENT "TANK" BLACK, SENTENCED TO 54 MONTHS IN PRISON AND ORDERED TO PAY $12 MILLION IN RESTITUTION FOLLOWING PARALLEL CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
The Commission announced that on July 8, 2002, James A. Franklin, Jr., a former South Carolina attorney and in-house counsel to sports agent William H. "Tank" Black, was sentenced to serve 54 months in prison and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution stemming from charges that he conspired with Black to defraud Black's athlete-clients. The Hon. Stephan P. Mickle imposed the sentence after a hearing in United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Gainesville Division).
Franklin previously pleaded guilty to: (i) one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and to obstruct the SEC's parallel investigation and (ii) one count of conspiring to commit money laundering. The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida prosecuted Franklin for the same conduct that underlies a civil enforcement action brought by the Commission in February 2000 against Franklin, Black and others in United States District Court in the Middle District of Florida. The Commission's lawsuit, which has been stayed pending resolution of the criminal case, alleges that Black, Franklin, Professional Management, Inc. (Black's sports agency business) and Professional Management Consulting, Inc. (Black and Franklin's related consulting business) defrauded nearly two dozen client-athletes of millions of dollars they entrusted to them for investment purposes, including investments in Cash 4 Titles, a purported car title loan business that was, in fact, an offshore Ponzi scheme.
Judge Mickle ordered that Franklin serve his 54-month sentence concurrently with an existing 32-month sentence handed down in May 2001 by a federal court in Detroit. In the Detroit case, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan prosecuted Franklin for his role in helping launder $1.1 million of drug money through the Cash 4 Titles Ponzi scheme. Franklin began serving the Detroit sentence in July 2001. Franklin's 54-month Gainesville sentence reflects a substantial downward departure from federal sentencing guidelines. In making that departure - and in deciding that Franklin should serve the Gainesville sentence concurrently, not consecutively, with the Detroit sentence - Judge Mickle emphasized Franklin's post-indictment cooperation with the United States Attorney and with the Commission.
For further information about the Commission's action against Black and Franklin, see Litigation Release No. 16455 (February 25, 2000); Litigation Release No. 17358 (February 11, 2002); and Litigation Release No. 17511 (May 8, 2002).