Jim Donnan Accused Of Recruiting Frank Beamer, Others Into Ponzi Scheme

Good morning. Let's talk Ponzi schemes. Former Georgia coach Jim Donnan is reportedly being accused of tangling other college football coaches into shady investments.

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Jim Donnan Facing Federal Charges In $80 Million Ponzi Scheme

Former University of Georgia football head football coach Jim Donnan is facing federal charges of fraud for his part in a Ponzi scheme estimated at $80 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC announced the charges against Donnan and his business partner Gregory Crabtree on Thursday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the scheme, according to the SEC (not that one), was conducted through a West Virginia liquidation company that claimed to it was buying leftover merchandise from major retailers and re-selling it:

Donnan and Crabtree "promised investors exorbitant rates of return ranging from 50 to 380 percent," [SEC spokesman John] Nestor said. "However, only about $12 million of the $80 million raised from nearly 100 investors was actually used to purchase leftover merchandise, and the remaining funds were used to pay fake returns to earlier investors or stolen for other uses by Donnan and Crabtree."

Donnan was head coach at Georgia from 1996 to 2000 after five season as the head coach at Marshall. He went 40-19 as the Bulldogs' head coach and was the first head coach in UGA history to coach the team to four consecutive bowl victories.

For a look at the SEC's official public statement regarding the charges against Donnan and Crabtree, click here.

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Kendrell Bell Accuses Jim Donnan Of Luring Him Into Ponzi Scheme

Former NFL player and University of Georgia standout Kendrell Bell has accused former Georgia coach Jim Donnan of convincing him to invest $2 million dollars in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

The story goes that Donnan convinced his former player to invest the money in GLC Limited which is a resale company that deals in used appliances and electronics. Donnan allegedly convinced many of his college peers to invest in the company that has since filed for bankruptcy protection.

Donnan has also filed for bankruptcy protection and Bell has filed a claim in bankruptcy court looking to recover his money.

The relationship between a college football player and his players "is very intimate and is built on trust," Bell said in a court filing. Even as GLC and Donnan and his wife filed for bankruptcy, Donnan repeatedly assured him, "Coach is going to take care of you," Bell said. Because Donnan told him not to speak to lawyers or reporters, Bell missed a deadline to keep Donnan's alleged debts to him from being wiped out by bankruptcy proceedings, according to the court filing.

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Jim Donnan Settles GLC Lawsuit Out Of Court

Former Georgia Bulldogs football coach Jim Donnan has settled a laqsuit filed against him for participating in a Ponzi scheme out of court, according to Lee Shearer of the Athens Banner-Herald. If a judge approves the settlement during an Aug. 29 hearing, GLC Ltd., a now-bankrupt company based in Ohio, will receive assets totaling $5.5 million from Donnan and his wife, Mary.

GLC sued Donnan in July, alleging he recruited investors into a Ponzi scheme, leading them to believe they were "buy[ing] inventory for resale," according to Shearer. Donnan received approximately $14.6 million on an initial $5.4 million investment. While other early investors posted similar profits, later investors lost an estimated $27.8 million.

Donnan coached the Bulldogs from 1996-2000, compiling a 40-19 record and winning four bowl games during that span. His best season at Georgia came in 1997, when he led the Bulldogs to a 10-2 record, an Outback Bowl victory, and a 10th-place ranking in both the NCAA Coaches' Poll and the AP Poll.

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Reported Jim Donnan Ponzi Scheme Documents Detail Payments, Payouts

Ah, the Jim Donnan Ponzi scheme story. Where were we? When last we'd spoken, it was being reported that the former Georgia Bulldogs coach had (perhaps accidentally) gotten a number of fellow college football coaches involved in a shady investment plan.

Sports By Brooks claims to have obtained documents which show just how much certain coaches and players may have paid into the system, based on Donnan's own accounting. Here's that list:

1) Tommy Tuberville: $800,000
2) Frank Beamer: $175,000
3) Billy Gillispie: $3,000,000+ (one of two loan agreements unsigned)
4) Dennis Franchione: $650,000
5) Mark Gottfried: $250,000
6) Kendrell Bell (Former NFL player): $2,075,000 (two of four loan agreements unsigned)
7) Jonas Jennings (Former NFL player): $500,000 (loan agreement unsigned)
8) Mike Gottfried (Former ESPN analyst, CFB coach): $250,000
9) Tom Luginbill (ESPN recrutiing analyst): $30,000
10) Barry Switzer: $50,000    

I love that 8) automatically turned into a smily in SbB's CMS, and am just gonna leave it. Two names that really stick out there: Kendrell Bell and Jonas Jennings, both of whom played for Donnan at UGA. Not good. And step it up, Switzer.

One name that does not stick out at all, since we're talking about Ponzi schemes: Billy Gillispie's. What are you doing here? You're not even a football coach. Neither is Mark Gottfried, but his uncle Mike Gottfried was. If there's a bad investment to be made that somehow involves a sports figure, you can count on Gillispie to invest. And not just invest, but to drop a sum that dwarfs pretty much everybody else's. Billy Gillispie has an interesting financial portfolio.

Assuming this is all real, of course.

For more Georgia spots, visit Dawg Sports. For more college football news, head to SB Nation NCAA Football.

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Jim Donnan Accused Of Recruiting Frank Beamer, Others Into Ponzi Scheme

Friday night news wasn't all positive for those with ties to Georgia Bulldogs football. During the smash recruiting success of Dawg Night, former coach Jim Donnan's name was attached to an accusation of Ponzi scheme involvement in an extensive ESPN report.

We didn't make note at the time of reports of Donnan's family having declared bankruptcy, but it looks like we should have. Both stories have revolved around West Virginia company GLC Limited, which went under after being outed.

The College Football Hall of Fame coach's family is being sued over a decision by Donnan and his wife to transfer assets to their children.

Donnan is accused of having recruited other college football coaches to buy in, including Virginia Tech Hokies coach Frank Beamer and Texas Tech Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville -- both of whom defended Donnan in the report, saying he didn't realize exactly what he was pitching. Barry Switzer and Dennis Franchione are also mentioned as having invested.

Donnan coached UGA from 1996 through 2000, compiling a 40-19 career record and 1997 SEC Coach of the Year honors, having made his name as Switzer's offensive coordinator at Oklahoma and the coach responsible for Marshall's early-1990s I-AA dominance. Vince Dooley had hoped to keep him on at UGA, leading to some speculation that Donnan could be considered for the upcoming Kennesaw State Owls job. That's not looking so good now, even though it sounds like he didn't willingly lead anybody astray.

He maintains a residence in Athens, and in recent years has been active on Atlanta sports radio.

For more Georgia spots, visit Dawg Sports. For more college football news, head to SB Nation NCAA Football.

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