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Scottie Pippen's Financial Advisor Gets Jail Time

Scottie Pippen s Financial Advisor Gets Jail Time
A onetime financial adviser to Scottie Pippen was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for a variety of schemes that included forging the Chicago Bulls legend's signature to obtain a $1.4 million loan that he used to pay off personal debts.

Robert Lunn, 66, showed no reaction as U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle imposed the sentence, which was far below the up to nine-year term prosecutors sought.

Norgle found that Lunn had lied at trial about forging Pippen's signature as well as by claiming he'd gotten the go-ahead to apply for a second loan in the name of another victim. The judge also ruled that Lunn had used sophisticated means to keep the shell game going.

"This was not a garden variety fraud," Norgle said. "The representations that he made along the way were an absolute lie. ... He presented himself to the victims here with skill and connivance."

In addition to the prison time, Norgle ordered Lunn to forfeit $2.7 million and pay about an additional $1.5 million in restitution, including $400,000 directly to Pippen.

Pippen testified at Lunn's trial in 2014 but did not attend Tuesday's lengthy sentencing hearing. Instead, he and his wife, Larsa, submitted a victim-impact statement to the court calling for the maximum sentence, alleging Lunn had "tarnished Scottie's legacy" by leading people to believe he was irresponsible with the money he'd worked so hard to earn on the basketball court.

"(Lunn) lied to us, he manipulated us, and he stole from us," the letter read. "He took our hard-earned money and acted recklessly and criminally with it and he should be held fully accountable for his actions."

Lunn's attorney, John Beal, told the judge he should take Pippen's letter "with a grain of salt," noting that Pippen had already recouped $8 million in bankruptcy court after a large South Side shopping plaza development that Lunn had invested Pippen's money in was sold to another developer.

After the hearing, Beal told reporters he planned to appeal, calling Pippen's letter "an outrageous sob story."

"He's sued everybody in town," Beal said. "He got paid his claims in full. ... They're crocodile tears."

Lunn was convicted by a jury in 2014 of five counts of bank fraud. Prosecutors said he illegally obtained a total of about $3 million in loans from Oak Brook-based Leaders Bank, which included the loan he claimed Pippen needed to invest in a private jet. Lunn instead spent most of the money for his own benefit, making mortgage payments and paying other investment clients, prosecutors said.

Pippen, currently an assistant to Bulls President Jerry Reinsdorf, testified at trial that he hired the Chicago-based Lunn as his financial adviser in 1999. In 2002, Pippen testified, Lunn sent him papers for the $1.4 million loan. He said he signed them without asking questions.

As time went on, though, his relationship with Lunn soured, Pippen said. When Lunn sent him documents to extend the loan in 2003, he sent them back with blank signature lines, he said.

He said the signatures on the documents Lunn later submitted to the bank appeared to be forged.

In their closing arguments at trial, prosecutors told jurors that Lunn took advantage of Pippen's status as a sports legend to put the bank at ease about the loan's financing.

"Everyone who follows Chicago sports knows Scottie Pippen ... he makes millions of dollars," said one of the prosecutors, Richard Stoltz, of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "They know he's a good candidate for a loan, and Leaders Bank was no different."

Source: ChicagoTribune.com

Date Posted: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 , Total Page Views: 3067

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