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U.S. charges company founder with attempting to defraud NBPA

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the founder of a company that advised the NBPA had been charged with attempting to defraud the union. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty) Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the founder of a company that advised the NBPA had been charged with attempting to defraud the union. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty)

The founder of a company that advises the National Basketball Association players’ union was charged on Thursday with attempting to defraud the National Basketball Players Association through the use of a fraudulent retention contract.

The complaint, filed on Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's office, also charged Joseph Lombardo, the founder of Prim Capital, with attempting to obstruct a federal grand jury probe.

According to the complaint, Lombardo forged the signature of Gary Hall, the former NBPA General Counsel, in a 2011 contract with the union. The fraudulent retention contract could have cost the NBPA $3 million, according to the complaint.

"As alleged, Joseph Lombardo faked the signature of a dead man as part of manufacturing a multi-million dollar contract out of whole cloth that, had it been enforced, would have caused significant losses for basketball players who entrusted him with their savings," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

"And together with his partner in crime, Carolyn Kaufman, he allegedly lied about it to a federal grand jury. Now they will both have to answer to the justice system they allegedly tried to obstruct.”

Lombardo and Kaufman are scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court on May 2.

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