Prosecutors in Omaha, Neb., unsealed an indictment Monday charging Mary Wong with stealing money from several NFL players, including Michael Vick.
According to the federal indictment, as reported by The Associated Press, Wong took money from players and used it for her own benefit. Wong also was a partner with three NFL players (DeMorrio Williams, and identical twins Daniel Bullocks and Josh Bullocks) in a corporation, Williams and Bullocks, LLC. Prosecutors allege that the corporation benefited from Wong’s Ponzi scheme. The players’ lawyer claims his clients, too, are victims of Wong’s.
Brad Manson, an attorney for Williams and the Bullock brothers, said that Wong befriended all three during their playing days at Nebraska, each of them invested $1 million with her with which to make investments, and she ended up stealing their money and leaving them in a difficult financial predicament. The federal indictment lists eight players in all as victims, but identifies them only by their initials. Vick sued Wong in January to try to recoup $2 million, in a case that is still pending.
“These three players have nothing to do with Mrs. Wong accepting money from Michael Vick,” Manson said. “She has not been forthcoming with the whereabouts of the money they invested with her, and we’ve cooperated fully with the government. There’s been no wrongdoing, and these three players are not accused or charged with anything.
“They had no idea she was also getting money from Michael Vick. They are completely innocent victims. They‘ve been trying to separate from Mrs. Wong for a long time. She took advantage of some young, financially-inexperienced guys, and I‘m trying to get them out of it.”
Manson said that after earning their trust and becoming a friend and adviser to the Bullocks brothers and Williams, she later exploited them. Wong shuffled money from one bank to the next, left incomplete ledgers, and the three players have been able to trace exactly where their investment money went, Manson said. She was granted power of attorney and control of their trusts as well.
Manson said he could trace that the LLC has interest in a bank and some real estate in Omaha, “and they probably have an interest in a shopping center in Arizona,” but the large majority of their money is unaccounted for even after acquiring Wong’s records and spending upwards of seven hours questioning her. Wong’s lawyer, Clarence Mock, has not returned a message left this afternoon.
The players began investing with Wong in late 2004, Manson said, and he began trying to extricate them from the situation late in 2008, when concerns arose. Wong was barred from trading securities by the New York Stock Exchange in 2007. Vick’s lawsuit alleges that Wong transferred $650,000 from Vick’s bank accounts and $175,000 from the sale of Georgia income tax credits owned by Vick to the Williams and Bullocks LLC, and Manson said Williams and the Bullocks had no knowledge of those transactions.
“They stopped sending her any money about a year ago,” Manson said. “No more funds have been given to her for the last year, and she doesn’t have access to any of their money anymore. We revoked all of her powers of attorney and I’m in the process of revoking all of the trusts and doing new estate plans. The paperwork for the LLC is a mess, so I have to dissolve the LLC.”
Manson said he has advised the three players that a lawsuit may provide their only hopes of trying to get back whatever they can from Wong, but that thus far they have been reluctant to spend more money in costs associated with the court process after already losing so much.
“I can’t say for sure whether we will sue her or not,” Manson said, “but I think we probably will.”
Williams, 29, a linebacker, was a fourth-round pick by Atlanta in 2004, and signed with Kansas City in 2008, receiving a $3 million signing bonus (he will earn $1 million this season).
Josh Bullocks, 25, a safety, was a second-round pick by the Saints in 2005, and spent his first four years there before signing a one-year deal with Chicago in 2009 ($500,00 signing bonus and $675,000 salary). Daniel Bullocks, 26, a safety, was drafted by the Lions in the second round in 2006, and was waived and placed on injured reserve last week (he was in the final year of his rookie contract that included $1.5 million in bonuses).