SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Former Football Player Charged With Running $10 Million Fraud

Litigation Release No. 24101 / April 5, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Merrill Robertson, Jr., et al., No. 16-cv-667 (E.D. Va. filed Aug. 10, 2016)

United States v. Merrill Robertson, Jr., No. 16-cr-133 (E.D. Va. filed Aug. 10, 2016)

A federal district court in Richmond, Virginia has entered a final judgment against Merrill Robertson, Jr., a former football player charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with defrauding investors, including coaches he knew from his time playing football for the Fork Union Military Academy and the University of Virginia.

The SEC alleged that Robertson, Sherman C. Vaughn Jr., and the company they co-owned, Cavalier Union Investments LLC, promised to invest in diversified holdings but stole nearly $6 million of the more than $10 million they raised from investors. They spent the stolen $6 million on personal expenses such as cars, family vacations, repayment of mortgage and credit-card debt, luxury goods, clothing, entertainment, educational expenses for family members, and a luxury suite at a football stadium. They also used the stolen money to make various donations and gifts to alma maters, churches, and other third parties. Robertson, who was criminally charged based on the conduct alleged by the SEC, was sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment.

On April 3, 2018, the court entered a final judgment against Robertson, ordering him to pay over $8 million in disgorgement, which will be deemed satisfied by the restitution ordered in the criminal case, and permanently enjoining him from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The litigation against Vaughn is ongoing.

At the time of the alleged misconduct, Robertson was not registered as a broker, and Vaughn never was registered with the SEC. The SEC encourages investors to check the backgrounds of people selling investments by using the SEC's investor.gov website to quickly identify whether they are registered professionals and confirm their identity.

The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.