The lifestyle of a sports star may seem glamorous, with money, cars, homes and parties in droves, but it has its downside. Athletes are in the limelight, and their millions are on display for the entire world to see. Sports stars can be easy targets for financial scams — as these cases prove.
Click ahead to see some of the most infamous financial scams involving sports stars.
By Tonya AlexanderUpdated 11 March, 2011
William “Boots” Del Biaggio III was a hockey team owner skating on thin ice. His insatiable desire to be a sports mogul caused him to commit a multimillion-dollar fraud.
Federal authorities accused Del Biaggio, a former Silicon Valley venture capitalist and part owner of the Nashville Predators hockey team, of defrauding investors and using the money to buy his $25 million stake in the professional sports team, according to The New York Times.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a complaint filed in Federal District Court that Del Biaggio, also known as Boots, also used the money to pay off gambling debts and maintain a lavish lifestyle and luxury home in San Jose, Calif.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of forging financial documents to obtain $110 million in loans from several banks and two NHL owners — Craig Leopold of the Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings owner AEG.
In September, 2009, Del Biaggio was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.
Watch the complete story of "Boots" Del Biaggio on CNBC's American Greed, Wednesday, March 16 10p | 1a ET
When Texas investment firm Triton Financial wanted to solicit business from professional athletes, it hired a bevy of former NFL players to help make the pitch. The firm's roster included former NFL quarterbacks Jeff Blake (inset, left) and Ty Detmer (inset, right), Koy Detmer and Chris Weinke.
In December 2009, Triton Financial was sued by the SEC for defrauding investors in a multimillion dollar insurance scam. The SEC's lawsuit focused on Triton Insurance, the firm's main fundraising vehicle, which raised $8.4 million from 90 investors between July 2008 and October 2009.
These investors were initially told their money would be used to buy a specific insurer, but the acquisition was put on hold. Funds were instead used to pay bills for Triton and its affiliates, the SEC said.
Texas State Securities Board spokesman Robert Elder said Triton had engaged in a "shell game" that shifted investors' money from one entity to another without permission.
In February, a federal grand jury indicted Triton's former CEO Kurt Barton on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud.
In 2009, Vick sued Wong for more than $2 million, alleging she transferred funds from his bank accounts, sold his Georgia income tax credits and transferred money from his pension fund that could have led to financial penalties.
Wong pleaded guilty in September, 2010, to securities, wire and mail fraud. She was sentenced in December to five years, three months in federal prison and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.