A former Pittsburgh financial advisor has testified to paying college football players at Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State, among others, for more than a dozen years in the hopes of winning their business, according to news reports.
Louis Martin Blazer, who previously pleaded guilty to federal charges after getting accused in 2016 by the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of misappropriating funds from the NFL players, is also a cooperating witness in the ongoing investigation of bribery in college basketball, CBS Sports writes.
On Tuesday, Blazer testified that he’d been paying football players at Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and North Carolina from 2000 up to 2014, according to the sports news website.
Blazer said he paid the players hoping they would hire him as their financial advisor, and many of them did, according to CBS Sports.
Blazer didn’t name names, but said in his testimony that, in one instance, he had paid the father of one Penn State football player $10,000, encouraged by an assistant coach at the university, whose home was then allegedly used for the transaction, the website writes.
"The coach wanted the player to consider staying," Blazer said, according to CBS Sports. "The player was leaning on coming out."
To other college football players, Blazer paid between $100 and $3,000 a month with cash or via Western Union, he said, according to the website.
"I was later to find out I wasn’t the only one paying these guys," Blazer said, adding that he never paid any college coaches, according to CBS sports.
In January, a former Oklahoma State University basketball coach pleaded guilty to accepting at least $22,000 in bribes from an unnamed financial advisor for promising to steer basketball players to hire him.
That advisor cooperated with the investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
Other than Blazer, another financial advisor who may have been cooperating with authorities was Munish Sood, who was accused of paying bribes to coaches at the University of Arizona, Oklahoma State and the University of Southern California.
Blazer, meanwhile, faces up to 67 years in prison following his guilty pleas to two counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of lying to the SEC and one count of aggravated identify theft in the case involving misappropriating funds from NFL players, CBS Sports writes. He’s cooperating with authorities in the hopes of getting a reduced sentence, according to the website.
From 2009 to 2012, he was registered as an investment advisor with Blazer Investment Advisors, according to SEC records.
During his 18 years as a broker, he racked up four customer disputes, starting from 1999, three of which were denied and one of which was settled for $850,000, according to BrokerCheck. The SEC barred him from the industry in July 2016 over allegations of misappropriating client funds, according to his profile.