Former Georgia Coach Charged In Ponzi Scheme

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Securities and Exchange Commission says former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan used his influence to get high-profile college coaches and former players to invest $80 million into a Ponzi scheme. Donnan has denied the allegations


NPR's business news starts with a Ponzi scheme charge.


GREENE: A former college football coach who made a name for himself in the Southeastern Conference, has caught the attention of a different SEC. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating former Georgia coach Jim Donnan.

Here's more from John Lorinc, of member station WUGA.

JOHN LORINC, BYLINE: The SEC accuses Donnan and his business associate of fraud. The agency claims the pair tapped into former players, coaches and others, to sustain a Ponzi scheme.

RON CARLSON: The agency not only used one, but two football metaphors.

LORINC: That's University of Georgia law professor Ron Carlson.

CARLSON: The SEC stated Donnan and his partner were merely pulling an old page out of the Ponzi scheme playbook, and the clock eventually ran out.

LORINC: The case is in federal court, and Carlson says that means Donnan's legal team has an uphill battle.

CARLSON: It's often said that a federal trial is simply a long guilty plea.

LORINC: Donnan has denied the allegations, saying he wanted to help others financially. But Bill Hicks, with the SEC, doesn't believe that. He says Donnan conned about 100 people into investing $80 million during a three-year period.

BILL HICK: The story was that they bought, you know, liquidated merchandise from stores, and had arrangements to pre-sell it most of the time. And it was a safe investment that paid, you know - they promised different people different things, but 50 to 380 percent a year.

LORINC: Donnan faces a series of financial penalties. In addition to coaching, Jim Donnan also worked as a college football analyst for ESPN.

For NPR News, I'm John Lorinc in Athens, Georgia.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from