Darren McFadden files 2nd suit over finances

Darren McFadden, left, answers questions from David Bazzel in this file photo.

Darren McFadden, the Dallas Cowboys running back who was once an Arkansas Razorback, filed a second lawsuit Friday in federal court in Little Rock over the management of his finances in his younger days.

Last June, McFadden sued Michael Vick, a longtime friend of the McFadden family who served as McFadden's business manager and financial adviser, alleging he misappropriated millions of dollars and mishandled his duties. Vick, who has denied all the allegations, isn't the former NFL quarterback of the same name who went to prison for his role in a dog-fighting ring.

On Friday, McFadden sued Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., for which Vick worked when he began managing McFadden's finances. The lawsuit accuses Ameriprise of being negligent and of actively concealing Vick's actions as he "manipulated ... Darren McFadden at a young age to seize broad and sweeping control over all of [McFadden's] professional income, assets and retirement savings, only to then methodically commandeer and misappropriate millions of dollars from [McFadden] over the course of eight years."

Court records show another lawsuit McFadden filed in 2016 against Vick is still pending before U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker and is set for trial the week of April 23, 2018.

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McFadden asked Friday to amend that lawsuit to add as defendants Serene Rock Ventures and Elite Ones, companies owned or controlled by Vick; Simmons Bank, which is accused of allowing Vick to evade regulatory scrutiny by making more than 1,000 cash withdrawals from a McFadden Enterprises Inc. account to take about $8 million of McFadden's money over 4½ years; and Vick's wife, Carla, who the suit alleges was complicit in her husband's misappropriation of $3.5 million under the guise of a "Bitcoin project."

The new lawsuit, assigned to U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr., notes that McFadden was "born and raised into a financially fragile upbringing in Little Rock" before receiving an athletic scholarship to the University of Arkansas, where he became one of the most decorated players in school history. At age 20, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

It says that meanwhile, Vick was hired by Ameriprise in Little Rock in about 2001, after being fired from Merrill Lynch. Then in early 2008, it says, "recognizing that [McFadden], at 20 years old, was on the precipice of being drafted to a lucrative NFL contract, Vick summoned mutual contacts and relationships to induce McFadden to turn over management of all financial matters" while incorrectly portraying himself as a "seasoned financial advisor" who would be his "trusted financial professional."

McFadden ultimately signed a six-year, $60.1 million contract with the Raiders in June 2008. The lawsuit alleges that less than two months later, Ameriprise "allowed" Vick to induce McFadden, "still just 20 years old, to sign virtually the broadest and most sweeping Arkansas General Durable Power of Attorney contemplated, relinquishing to Vick the unfettered power and ability to control all of McFadden's income and financial transactions, ranging from all banking and other financial institution transactions, business operating transactions, real property transactions, to all tax matters."

Over about eight years, the lawsuit alleges, Vick "systematically converted a substantial portion of McFadden's monies and assets for Vick's own personal use and gain."

Throughout the alleged embezzlement, which the suit says began while Vick worked at Ameriprise, "multiple financial institutions, including Ameriprise Financial, had the opportunity at certain points in time to intervene and stop his pervasive misappropriation, but opted to say and do nothing."

The lawsuit also lists as defendants "Does 1 through 10," so that other defendants can be added later.

The suit notes that through a "separate legal proceeding," possibly referring to the other pending lawsuit, McFadden "just recently learned that throughout 2010, Ameriprise Financial was engaged in an internal investigation of its then-employee Vick related to suspicious and unauthorized account activity" regarding McFadden's account.

It says that a 10-month investigation ended in Vick's indefinite suspension on Oct. 1, 2010, after which time Vick "simply quit."

That should have counted as an admission of all unauthorized account activity and required Ameriprise to immediately inform all Vick's clients, including McFadden, about the unauthorized activity and report him to regulatory authorities.

Instead, the lawsuit alleges, Ameriprise "allowed Vick to fabricate a false pretext for why McFadden should transfer his accounts ... to other financial institutions, thereby allowing Vick to continue to maintain and manipulate full control and access to all of [McFadden's] income and assets."

McFadden's California attorney said last year that he wasn't aware of, and hadn't sought, any criminal investigation into Vick, who ceased to be a registered or licensed adviser after he left Ameriprise.

Metro on 05/13/2017