CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield man who once played in the NFL was arrested for an alleged scheme that cost his clients millions of dollars.
Merrill Robertson Jr. was arrested on Wednesday on criminal charges related to fraud, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced a civil case against Robertson.
They said Robertson and a business partner, whom the SEC also sued, promised to invest money they raised, but instead used it to pay for personal expenses.
Robertson played football at L.C. Bird High School, Fork Union Military Academy, and the University of Virginia, where he majored in anthropology. Robertson then played briefly for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early 2000s.
Neighbors also said Robertson was also a youth pastor and that they were shocked over his arrest.
Robertson and his partner co-owned a company called Cavalier Union Investments LLC.
According to the SEC complaint, Robertson raised funds from contacts that he had at the Fork Union Military Academy and the University of Virginia.
The scheme allegedly defrauded elderly individuals, former coaches, donors, alumni, and school employees.
According to his website, which was still active on Wednesday, Robertson "has a dynamic background in sales and financing."
The complaint acknowledged that at one point Robertson held licenses to sell securities, but was not currently registered as a broker.
The website also boasted a client list that included "athletes, entertainers, institutions, wealthy individuals, churches and everyday people."
Robertson's attorneys didn't respond to requests for comment.
According to the SEC, Robertson said he would put investors' money in diversified holdings. Instead, investigators said, he and Vaughn spent the money and used it to repay earlier investors, according to the SEC.
They also purchased "cars, family vacations, spa visits, luxury goods, educational expenses for family members, and a luxury suite at a football stadium," the complaint said.
The SEC claimed the pair lied about employing advisers.
"[I]t did not have any funds or investment advisers and was functionally insolvent shortly after it was formed," the complaint said.
The only investments made by Cavalier Union Investments were restaurants that failed by 2014, the government said.