A financial adviser working for Mike Tyson, Glen Rice and Dikembe Mutombo pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $1 million from his clients; prosecutors alleged that the adviser used the death of Tyson's daughter to hide some of the theft.
Appearing in court with a full head of white hair, a tweed jacket and a healthy tan, 55-year-old Brian Ourand didn't explain why he did it, but admitted to using fraudulent checks, credit cards and illegal wire transfers to steal from four professional athletes from 2006 to 2011.
Federal prosecutors said that if the case had gone to trial, they would have shown that Ourand embezzled more than $500,000 from Rice alone by forging the former NBA All-Star's name on "almost 100 checks" made out to Ourand or simply "cash." Prosecutors said Ourand also had a credit card made in his name that in reality linked to Rice's bank account.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Last said Ourand used a similar scheme to fleece Tyson's personal and business accounts of at least $265,000. Tyson is "Client B" in the criminal indictment, which alleged that Ourand wrote in the memo line of several checks that they were for "hospital expenses concerning Client B's young child, who had been treated for fatal injuries relating to a tragic accident in May 2009. Although defendant Ourand had personally covered $5,000 of the hospital bill, defendant Ourand claimed 'reimbursement' for approximately $40,000 in checks drawn from Client B's bank account."
The former heavyweight champion's 4-year-old daughter, Exodus Tyson, died in 2009 after she became tangled up in a cord attached to a treadmill, accidentally strangling herself.
The indictment said Ourand used the money he stole for gambling debts, hotel stays, tanning salons, dental work, clothing, restaurants, home improvement purchases and private school tuition for his girlfriend's relative.
Prosecutors did not name the other two athletes, but an earlier filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission obtained by ESPN stated that former NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo exposed the fraud when his "American Express card had been declined" and "there was activity on the card in Ourand's name."
Federal prosecutors said Ourand stole at least $75,000 from a nonprofit created by "Athlete C" and spent another $40,000 of that athlete's money by creating a fraudulent American Express card. The SEC filing stated that Ourand managed "the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which funds humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic on the Congo," where Mutombo was born.
That same SEC filing said "Rice spoke to Ourand every day and 'considered him a really good friend. One of my best friends.'"
The SEC said "Ourand told Rice he was having financial difficulties, but Rice did not loan Ourand any money or authorize him to take money out of his account as a loan."
After Rice learned of the embezzlement, the SEC said, "Ourand suggested that they play golf. Unsurprisingly, Rice did not accept the golf invitation."
Ourand was president of SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises, a financial advising firm based in Washington, D.C., and owned by Live Nation. According to the SEC filing, SFX's clients are "mostly professional athletes" and the company specialized in tax work, bill paying, financing homes and "facilitating major purchases such as cars and insurance."
SFX fired Ourand after an internal audit that was launched when Mutombo alerted the company about his credit card problem. The SEC banned Ourand from working in the financial industry last May when it ordered him to pay more than $971,000 in fines and penalties.
Ourand will be sentenced in May and will likely receive three to four years in prison. Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered Ourand to forfeit the more than $1 million he stole but did allow him to return home until his sentencing hearing.
When ESPN asked Ourand why he did it, he gave a quick "no comment" but flashed a wide grin before walking out of the courthouse.