Lawyers, coaches talk alleged scam

A group of NCAA men's basketball coaches who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in an alleged investment scheme met Sunday in Las Vegas with an attorney who specializes in financial fraud cases in the hope of recovering some of their losses.

Dennis Coleman, a partner with Boston-based law firm Ropes and Gray, said he and Ropes partner Chris Green spent Sunday afternoon filling in the coaches on their options.

"There were a decent number of guys there and the main focus was how they can get their money back," Coleman said by phone from Las Vegas.

"My partner Chris Green has been involved in handling the cases of a lot of victims of the (Bernie) Madoff case and similar fraud cases. He met individually with each coach to review their options."

The coaches in question were just a fraction of the victims in an alleged bond scheme by Houston investor David Salinas.

Salinas, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday at his home in Friendswood, Texas, was the apparent target of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into whether he orchestrated a multi-million dollar fraud scheme and swindled investors.

Salinas first was introduced to college coaches as possible investors in 1988 when he befriended the Rice coaching staff while his son Chris was playing youth basketball. Then-Rice coach Scott Thompson and assistant Grey Giovanine were the first to invest with him in the late 1980s before introducing him as a trusted friend to other coaches at subsequent Final Fours. Giacoletti also invested through Salinas in the late 1980s.

By 1992, Salinas had started an AAU program called Houston Select.

Coleman said he would prefer not to say how many coaches were at the meeting or how much money was lost.

Coleman said there was no discussion on any NCAA-related issues.

"We are not even talking about the NCAA," Coleman said. "This is all about individual assets."

Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.