FORT MYERS, Fla. - Southwest Florida native and football star Jevon Kearse, along with 15 other NFL players, are suing a Florida-based bank for more than 50-million dollars.
The lawsuit alleges that a financial advisor was allowed to open accounts using documents with forged signatures and the bank did nothing to stop him.
"I was shocked at the scope and the magnitude of this case. The names, the people involved, but also the amount of money taken from them," said Attorney Andrew Kagan, who filed the case.
Kagan says unauthorized accounts opened by Pro-Sports Financial advisor Jeffrey Rubin cost 16 former and current NFL players about 53 million dollars.
"They have people that they trust to take care of these things and unfortunately when these people start doing stuff they don't know about they can do a lot of damage," he said.
According to the suit, the bank accounts were opened by Rubin in October 2006, but the signatures were forged.
"All they would have had to do was compare the old signature with the new one and literally it looks like someone just wrote Ray Lewis' name in cursive," he said.
Kagan says the illegal transactions made by Rubin were allowed by Bank Atlantic, now owned by Branch Banking and Trust or BB&T.
"Some people realized they were victims when their electricity got cut off. They could no longer pay their electricity bill and Rubin just stopped paying the bills," Kagan said.
The victims include Fort Myers native, Jevon Kearse. The former Titans and Eagles defensive end played in the NFL for 11 seasons and tops the list at nearly eight million dollars lost.
Kagan says the players trusted Rubin as a businessman and a friend and says he's just trying to recover the money that is rightfully theirs.
"That money that they earn during that period is supposed to support them for the rest of their lives," he said.
At one time, Rubin's client list numbered more than 100 athletes and Kagan says it's very likely more lawsuits will follow this one.
Wink News did reach out to BB&T for comment but did not hear back in time for this story.