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A former Florida businesswoman accused of stealing $6 million from 1998 Heisman Trophy winner and former pro football player Ricky Williams and more from three other pro athletes was arrested Friday (Dec. 16) in New Orleans, federal authorities said.
Peggy Ann Fulford, 58, operated two management companies out of Florida, was charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering in an eight-count indictment handed up Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Houston. The indictment was unsealed Friday following her arrest in New Orleans, where she was now living, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.
Fulford and Williams made an agreement in 2008 for her to manage his financial affairs including paying his bills and income tax payments, without charging a fee the former running back said in a lawsuit.
Fulford presented herself as a graduate of Harvard’s business and law schools who had made millions in the stock market buying and selling hospitals and “just wanted to protect (clients) from losing their money,” according to a media statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
There is no record of Fulford ever graduating from Harvard, officials said.
Federal authorities said former Saints running back Ricky Williams, shown in this 2001 file photo, was among four professional athletes defrauded of millions of dollars by purported financial advisor Peggy Ann Fulford, who was arrested Friday (Dec. 16) in New Orleans.
Williams and Fulford opened a joint bank account in 2008 in Orlando where the former football player deposited the $11 million that he made from 2007 to 2012, according to court documents.
While Williams and his family were living off a monthly stipend sent from Fulford, she was spending the rest on luxury cars, real estate, jewelry and airline tickets, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Federal investigators said Fulford diverted millions of dollars from Williams and the other victims, laundering the money through dozens of bank accounts and spending it on her own personal expenses.
While he is not named in Fulford’s criminal indictment, TMZ reported in 2015 that former NBA star Dennis Rodman fired Fulford as his financial manager in 2015 and accused her of stealing millions of dollars from him.
At that point, Fulford was going by the name Peggy King, court documents said.
Fulford, who is also known by the aliases, Peggy Williams, Peggy Simpson, Peggy Rivers, Peggy Barard, Devon Cole and Devon Barard, was arrested Friday in New Orleans, the Times-Picayune reported.