December 16, 2011
Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger might have become part of Notre Dame folklore as the walk-on who inspired a team — and a memorable movie — but the legacy he ultimately leaves might be that of a scammer.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ruettiger ran a "pump-and-dump" scheme that enticed investors to bid up the stock of his sports drink company, Rudy Nutrition. Although Ruettiger did not admit or deny guilt, he did pay $382,866 in fines to resolve the SEC's allegations. From Forbes:
According to the SEC complaint filed in federal court in Las Vegas, Reuttiger's company sold only a small amount of a sports drink called "Rudy" and instead the company served as a vehicle for a 2008 pump-and-dump scheme that generated $11 million in illicit profits. The SEC revoked registration of the stock of Rudy Nutrition in 2008.
"Investors were lured into the scheme by Mr. Ruettiger's well-known, feel-good story but found themselves in a situation that did not have a happy ending," said Scott Friestad, associate director of the SEC's enforcement division, in a statement. "The tall tales in this elaborate scheme included phony taste tests and other false information."
Ruettiger actually said the drink outsold Gatorade 2-to-1.
This isn't the first time Ruettiger has been called out for "tall tales": Last September, former Notre Dame teammate Joe Montana debunked the image of Ruettiger as portrayed in the 1993 hit "Rudy," citing most of the film's heartwarming flourishes as Hollywood fluff perpetrated by Ruettiger himself, who lobbied for years to get the movie made. Their coach, Dan Devine, agreed to be portrayed as the "heavy" in the story to stoke the drama but has described the scene in which seniors stage a protest on Rudy's behalf by turning in their jerseys on Devine's desk as "unforgivable" and "a lie."
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