A businessman who was an early investor in a bankrupt professional football league called the Alliance of American Football pleaded guilty on Monday to charges accusing him of a $600 million cryptocurrency scheme.
Reginald Fowler has been charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and other offenses that prosecutors say contributed to the AAF’s rapid demise in 2019.
The guilty plea in Manhattan federal court comes at a time when other fledgling leagues are making long-running bids to loosen the National Football League’s grip on professional football. In 2019, the AAF closed after eight weeks when it ran out of money.
Fowler, 63, of Chandler, Ariz., was once known for trying to buy the Minnesota Vikings from the NFL in 2005. He found himself a minority owner before his involvement with the team ended in 2014.
In a statement, U.S. attorney Damian Williams said that under the crypto program, Fowler “has helped process hundreds of millions of dollars in unregulated transactions on behalf of numerous cryptocurrency exchanges, circumventing the anti-money laundering safeguards required of licensed institutions that ensure the US financial system is not used for criminal purposes.
Prosecutors also alleged that Fowler lied to AAF executives by claiming he controlled bank accounts with tens of millions of dollars from real estate investments and government contracts that he could use to invest in the league. .
“Having accepted full responsibility in a plea opened today, Reggie will have the opportunity to be heard at sentencing as to his understanding of the circumstances of the offenses and critical issues such as the appropriate amount of the monetary loss attributable to Reggie,” defense attorney Edward Sapone said in a statement.