One year ago, Everette Scott was under federal indictment for fraud. Months after that indictment, the NFL Players Association certified him to continue his career as an NFL agent. Now he has been convicted and is scheduled for sentencing in September, and the NFLPA is declining to comment on it.
Scott and a co-defendant were convicted early last week of defrauding investors of more than $5 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Scott was found guilty on one count of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud, after he and his his co-defendant Tryone Gilliam solicited and misappropriated investor funds that Gilliam used to buy luxury cars, jewelry, and other items. Prosecutors also said Scott and Gilliam produced falsified bank records and made false statements to investors in an attempt to conceal the fraud.
Despite the charges against Scott, the NFLPA decided he was fit to remain an agent, re-approving him for business after the lockout and decertification of the union in the spring of 2011. Three sources familiar with the NFLPA's recertification said the vetting process for agents was not fully completed until late spring of 2012 – long after Scott’s troubles began with the U.S. government.
Asked about Scott’s indictment and his subsequent NFLPA approval to remain a certified agent, spokesman George Atallah responded, “Thank you for your email. I will not be answering any questions from you at this time. The NFLPA officially declines comment.”
According to a document obtained by Yahoo! Sports, NFLPA officials were also anonymously emailed on Feb. 15, 2012, with a link to Scott’s indictment and a note of concern about his standing as a certified agent.
While federal authorities indicted Scott in January of 2012, the union allowed him to represent players for another nine months, until Scott’s certification eventually lapsed on the way to his conviction. Scott was first certified by the NFL Players Association in 1995 and negotiated sixteen contracts over the course of his career.
The same month Scott was charged for his role in the investment scheme, the long-time agent filed a petition for bankruptcy protection. At the time of his filing, documents connected to his indictment and bankruptcy became public record.
Now some agents have privately questioned how the union – which is responsible for regulating agent conduct – allowed Scott to continue representing NFL players while facing federal fraud charges.
“How does the NFLPA let a federally indicted agent who declared bankruptcy represent players?,” asked one agent, who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution from the NFLPA. “It leads one to question if the union is effectively protecting players from potentially rogue agents.”
It should be noted that at the time of his indictment, Scott’s case wasn’t particularly promising. The conviction rate of the department of justice exceeded 90-percent in 2011, and Scott wasn’t prosecuted by just anyone. Indeed, his defense was matched up against the office of Preet Bharara, a government prosecutor who appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in February 2012 for his prowess in prosecuting white collar crime.
Now convicted, Scott and Gilliam face maximum prison sentences of 20 years for each of the three counts they were convicted on and face up to $5 million in fines.