Santana Moss 'Paying for It Now' on Investment Loss

NFL free agent Santana Moss testified Wednesday that he didn't examine his own financial affairs until after more than $1.4 million in unauthorized transfers were made from a bank account in his name.

The Miami native is one of six current and former professional football players suing BB&T for negligence. The players' former financial adviser, Pro Sports Financial Inc., allegedly forged their signatures to open BB&T bank accounts and make unauthorized withdrawals to invest in a failed Alabama casino deal.

Most recently with the Washington Redskins, Moss joined retired players Fred Taylor and Lito Sheppard in a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom in Miami. A jury trial will follow for retirees Ray Lewis, Clinton Portis and Derrick Gaffney.

BB&T lawyers painted a picture of an athlete who didn't pay attention to the management of his money, signing away power of attorney to a Pro Sports employee and sending his bank statements to the company without looking over them. He claims a loss of $4.85 million.

"I heard so much growing up, 'Pay attention to this. Pay attention to that,' " Moss testified during cross-examination. "I didn't do it. I let [Pro Sports] pay attention to it. I'm paying for it now."

Moss was drafted in 2001 by the New York Jets and earned a signing bonus of about $5.4 million, he said. A few years into his NFL career, he hired Pro Sports to pay his bills and manage his money, along with other "concierge services."

"You want to go out of town, they made flight reservations," he said. "You name it."

He said he signed a document in January 2006 to open an account with BankAtlantic, whose assets were later acquired by BB&T. After a Pro Sports break-in that Moss said he was never told about, his bill-paying account was closed and a new BankAtlantic account was opened in his name.

Moss testified he didn't know who signed his name on the agreement to open the new account.

Over two months in 2009, $1.1 million in wire transfers moved money from that account to Ronnie Gilley Properties LLC, which was organized to buy the land for an Alabama casino project. Another $250,000 wire transfer and two checks paid to Pro Sports for a total of $80,000 were also made from 2008 to 2010, according to bank statements.

Moss testified he didn't authorize those transfers and received nothing in return, saying it was "lost."

He said he met with Ronnie Gilley in Alabama to discuss potential real estate investments but never visited the casino site and never agreed to invest in it. Moss acknowledged lending Gilley about $300,000 for a residential real estate project.

Moss said the NFL does not allow players to invest in casinos. When his lawyer asked him to explain the NFL policy, Moss said: "It's not something that we're allowed to do. It can cost you your career."

BB&T lead attorney David Hendrix of GrayRobinson in Tampa repeatedly asked the 36-year-old wide receiver how many BankAtlantic accounts he had during the time the transfers were made.

Moss said he didn't know.

He said he would sometimes receive financial documents from Pro Sports via FedEx and sign them without reading them. He had his bank statements sent to Pro Sports' Fort Lauderdale office and saved his paychecks—about $40,000 per game—in a drawer in his Virginia bedroom until he could send them to Pro Sports for deposit.

The former University of Miami player said he found out about the transfers around 2012 when he started hearing his teammates talking about problems brewing at Pro Sports.

"There was rumbling, and I made some calls, and that's when I got to the bottom of it," he said.

Moss said he has been handling his own financial affairs since then.

"I do all of that stuff myself now," he said. "I didn't want to trust nobody no more."

The players are represented by Matthew Brenner and Ronald Edwards Jr. of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed in Orlando and Elizabeth Kagan of the Kagan Law Firm in Fort Myers.

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