FanDuel - WFBC

October 28, 2009

Antoine Walker broke, arrested for writing bad checks: Antoine Walker entered the NBA's maximum-contract financial elite in 1999, the year Boston signed him to a six-year, $71 million deal. As Rick Pitino, then the Celtics president and coach, put it, Walker "will never have to worry about money again in his life." Pitino's prediction, like so many things about his tenure with the Green, proved way off the mark.

posted by dusted to basketball at 06:15 PM - 31 comments

Saw this article the other day and just shook my head. How does anyone squander $110 million dollars? Then I read the comments made by his mother.

posted by MW12 at 07:35 PM on October 28

Someone had to learn the lessons of MC Hammer the hard way.

posted by bperk at 07:59 PM on October 28

Wow, moron.

He isn't the first, and he won't be the last, fool soon parted from his money, but what a spectacular fool he is. I haven't the slightest bit of compassion for him. It's one thing to blow through $100+ Million dollars, it's another to blow through the money and then keep spending like you have more.

Obviously, he didn't get any financial advice from his mother, and clearly he needed some advice. I hope all the people he ripped off get their money back.

posted by dviking at 09:08 PM on October 28

Well, he didn't technically blow through $110 Million. After taxes and fees, he probably blew through $60 - $65 million.

Also, if he's responsible for taking care of 70 people - that's becomes a considerably smaller amount of money. This is probably the source of most of his problems. Guys with $65 million can easily own three or four properties and play $15,000 hands of blackjack if they aren't spending addiitonal tens of thousands weekly keeping others fed and housed. No to mention the numerous charities that he finances.

Plus he has assets. With some large scale adjustments to his lifestyle and the selling of those assets, he should still be able to live at a level most of us would envy. But he needs a job just to keep him from spending money 8 hours of the day. If they aren't taking his homes he has a shot here. Sounds like he's not about to be calling Lenny Dykstra (who's only hope seems to be to write a book and hope people want to read about the comeupance of a total asshole).

It seems to me that Walker's chief enemies are frivolity and and an unending generosity. Bad qualities for a banker, but sounds like a nice guy.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:24 PM on October 28

The dude wrote bad checks for more money than I'll make in years to support his gambling addict. Sounds like a guy who's had the world handed to him on a silver platter and was never told no since he first showed mad b-ball skills, and doesn't know how to act otherwise. Not that he's the only one.

posted by jmd82 at 10:35 PM on October 28

The "Professional Athlete: Broke" article is almost becoming a Mad-Lib. Just fill in the player name, team name and dollar amount. Everything else is the same.

Sooner or later, players will realize that employing a financial adviser is just as important as their agent.

posted by BoKnows at 10:52 PM on October 28

weedy, I appreciate you taking the high road for him, I really do, but come on. An entourage of 70? That's out of control by even gansta rapper standards.

As to his assets, I'll bet him $15,000 that those assets aren't worth the mortgages he has on them. And, I'll bet him another $15,000 that he can't unload those assets in this economy even if he wants to.

Nice guy? Unending generosity? Don't know the man, so I can't comment on the first item, but on the last, it was not unending generosity that got him where he is today, it was unending stupidity. He, and his mother, and his friends wanted to live large, and now he's going to pay the price for it. I'll bet another $15,000 that the bills mentioned in the article are not the only ones out there.

posted by dviking at 12:42 AM on October 29

I was telling my wife about this, and she said "I couldn't spend that money in a lifetime." It is pretty amazing to think that Walker kept expanding his lifestyle / entourage / gambling habit that he could burn through all his (and others) money so soon after his career ended.

Is there a financial education course for NBA players? I remember we discussed one of the big leagues starting a money course for rookies (your uncle shouldn't be your agent, don't sign blank checks, etc.).

posted by dusted at 11:56 AM on October 29

I read the article. There is no excuse. He is just plain stupid and from his mother's comments so is she. No sympathy is warranted. As his mother says he is entitled to live his life the way he wants. He has chosen to blow a one in 100 million opportunity if favor of poverty. Now he can live the life he chooses one of a broke criminal. Personally I think he is getting just what he deserves. When you are incredibly lucky and given every opportunity anybody could ever dream of, then squander it, well no sob story really cuts it.

Also I tend to dissagree with Weedy here, I don't see a generous nice guy. I see a selfish guy who spends his and other peoples money (criminally I might add) on a lavish, big shot life style of gambling, luxury and showing off, regardless of the consequenses to him or his family, with no regard for anybody else or the future.

posted by Atheist at 02:28 PM on October 29

Calling him a criminal seems excessive to me, given the fact that his bad-check debt only is being pursued criminally because he hasn't paid it off yet.

As for him being selfish with "other peoples money," if casinos and other institutions gave him money and he can't pay it back, that's as much on them as him.

I think it's a shame Walker has wasted so much of his money, but it's not like he's unique. There will always be some super-rich actors, musicians, athletes and lottery winners who can't handle money and end up blowing it all.

posted by rcade at 02:32 PM on October 29

I agree. I wouldn't go as far as to consider Walker a criminal but he is rather gullible. To have an entourage of over 70 people is a bit absurd but who am I to tell someone as to how many people show be in their entourage or how to squander their millions?

I do believe that Mike Tyson holds the record as to how much of his career earnings he blew with Lenny Dykstra a close second.

posted by BornIcon at 03:18 PM on October 29

There is a difference between writing a NSF checks and knowingly writing checks you cannot cover. That is fraud and that is why he is being pursued criminally and was arrested. The very definition of a criminal is one who commits crimes. Maybe not a violent criminal but a criminal nontheless.

The crime is not that he blew all his money. That is stupidity and he was free to excercise it. The crime is after he ran out of money, he continued to defraud people and businesses out of goods and services he knew he could not pay for. You can go to jail for that.

One thing is clear here, and that is in order to stay out of jail, he will probably declare bankruptcy, and the courts will decide how to liquidate any assets to pay creditor claims. The DA's in the various juristictions will decide the extent of criminal charges to be filed. There will soon be an auction of Rolexes, Bentleys, Houses, etc. I hear there will be some good deals on custom tailored suits, if you happen to be 6'8" and of the proper weight and size.

posted by Atheist at 03:52 PM on October 29

That's not what the story says. The spokeswoman for the DA's office said, "If he gets a job, he can potentially enter into a payment plan to pay off the debt. Without a job and means to pay off the debt, criminal proceedings will go forward as planned."

posted by rcade at 04:30 PM on October 29

Walker has also tried his hand at venture capital investing with Walker Ventures LLC and in real estate with AW Realty LLC.

Guffaw!

"Antoine is doing great,'' said Diane. "I have my home. He has his home. If he's doing so bad, then how could we still be here?''

Chortle!

writing 10 bad checks for casino markers totaling $1 million in Las Vegas.

Hell, he can't be outta money, he still has checks!

posted by mjkredliner at 05:23 PM on October 29

rcade, yes, if he gets a job that enables him to pay off millions in debt he'll probably be fine...fine, as in not having the criminal proceedings go forward. Is that going to happen?

As to being a criminal, I think we've had this discussion before (I forget about which athlete) in which I used the tag of criminal, and others thought that was excessive . Committing a crime makes one a criminal. He clearly continued to spend money he did not have, writing checks that he knew he couldn't cover, so yes he's a criminal. Why is any of the blame on the institutions that allowed him to write bad checks? He was a high profile millionaire that had a history of visiting those places. So, they're supposed to know that he blew through all of his money? Judging from the fact that he wrote the checks to numerous institutions I would guess that he hopped from one casino/bank/whatever to the next in order to continue to write bad checks. Can't do that in the same casino day after day!

posted by dviking at 06:26 PM on October 29

Yes I wonder what kind of job a not too bright washed up basketball player can get that will pay enough to make restitution on millions of dollars in debt. The car wash? @$10 per hour x 40 hours per week X 100 years less living expenses........he will be out of prison faster.

posted by Atheist at 06:38 PM on October 29

Sooner or later, players will realize that employing a financial adviser is just as important as their agent.

Yup, just ask Kareem

posted by lab at 07:07 PM on October 29

rcade, yes, if he gets a job that enables him to pay off millions in debt he'll probably be fine...

Read the story. It's not millions. The 10 bad checks total $1 million.

He clearly continued to spend money he did not have, writing checks that he knew he couldn't cover, so yes he's a criminal.

Writing bad checks is only criminal if it's prosecuted that way. Lots of people bounce checks and are not criminals, just terrible at handling money. My guess is that he finds a way to pay it off and the charge goes away. Is he still a criminal then?

posted by rcade at 07:52 PM on October 29

Yes I wonder what kind of job a not too bright washed up basketball player can get that will pay enough to make restitution on millions of dollars in debt.

He's only 33. He could probably play overseas for a decent six figure salary.

posted by rcade at 07:56 PM on October 29

No sympathy is warranted

Oh you say that about everything.

And there's a less than subtle difference between giving someone sympathy and giving them the benefit of the doubt. I read several things in that article that don't point so declaratively at "selfish, selfish, selfish". I also recognize it as one article and not a biography.

Geez if I was constantly as sure about everything I read as you are, I'd be a complete bore.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:09 PM on October 29

Read the story. It's not millions. The 10 bad checks total $1 million.

Well, one of us needs to read the story again. What I read is $1M to the casinos, $4M to various financial institutions, $450K to his agent...and then there's my previous $15,000 bet that the charges we know about are not the full story.

Keep in mind, that if he's writing bad checks, we can assume he's out of money. I mean, that's a fair assumption isn't it? So, he's going to have some large property tax bills due, and probably has a multitude of other smaller bills due as well. It's easily millions of dollars. The $1m to the casinos is only related to the charges in Nevada.

As to the comment of writing bad checks only being criminal if it's prosecuted that way...I guess that depends on one's perspective about a person that commits a crime. I think one becomes a criminal the second they commit the crime, you appear think they only become a criminal when they're convicted of the crime. As someone else pointed out, bouncing a check at Kroger isn't a crime if you can make good on it, cashing 10 for $1M that you don't have probably is. I'll trust that the authorities knew what they were doing when they arrested him. Vegas doesn't normally arrest big spenders that they think were just a bit careless with their money.

If he can unload mommy's house, and get a gig overseas for a decent six figure salary, he might be okay. The casinos and banks would much rather have some money than see him go to jail, he'll probably be able to work a deal out. To some if he works out a deal that means he's not a criminal, to me it just makes him a criminal that got a deal.

posted by dviking at 12:18 AM on October 30

Not to split hairs.. okay, probably to split hairs, but in order for one to be a criminal, one needs to be convicted of a crime, no?

I mean he can be a thief, liar, scumbag, etc. - but he's not a criminal. Yet?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:39 AM on October 30

Well, one of us needs to read the story again. What I read is $1M to the casinos, $4M to various financial institutions, $450K to his agent...and then there's my previous $15,000 bet that the charges we know about are not the full story.

Those other debts have nothing to do with the criminal charges.

Keep in mind, that if he's writing bad checks, we can assume he's out of money. I mean, that's a fair assumption isn't it?

Not really. He could be paying other creditors with the income he has. It's not like the newspaper knows where all his money is coming and going.

Walker made $8.8 million dollars with the Grizzlies last year, so the $1 million in bad checks is equivalent to one-eighth his yearly salary. It's like somebody who earns $32,000 writing $4,000 in bad checks and having to come up with the money to get out of trouble.

I think one becomes a criminal the second they commit the crime, you appear think they only become a criminal when they're convicted of the crime.

I think that when a crime is rarely prosecuted, calling people who do it criminals is stupid. Does Antoine Walker deserve to be lumped in with murderers and rapists because he wrote bad checks to a casino? Is every American who bets on sports online a criminal?

For all we know, Walker's biggest problem is that he poured millions into a failed business venture and didn't have the cash flow to survive it because he expected to be signed by a new team this year. Do we think of white-collar business execs who run up debts in the millions as criminals?

posted by rcade at 09:13 AM on October 30

He clearly continued to spend money he did not have, writing checks that he knew he couldn't cover, so yes he's a criminal.

There is nothing in this article that says he knew he couldn't cover those checks. We just know that he hasn't. He could dispute the underlying amounts, so hasn't covered the checks yet. He could have put a stop payment on them. The bank could have failed to make a transfer. He could have forgotten to make a transfer. There are so many explanations that your absolutely certainty that he is a criminal is pretty ridiculous.

posted by bperk at 10:16 AM on October 30

Not to split hairs.. okay, probably to split hairs, but in order for one to be a criminal, one needs to be convicted of a crime, no?

That is not correct. The definition of a criminal is one that commits crimes. Now, if you're discussing Convicted Criminals, then yes he'd have to be convicted. Sure, papers tend to use words like "suspected", or "allegedly", to avoid lawsuits, I don't have that restriction. Again, I will grant that some view this differently. To me, if I rob a bank I become a criminal regardless of whether I am ever convicted.

Rcade, maybe you and I deal with different issues at work. Over the past 25 years I've sent hundreds of fraudulent check cases to the authorities for presecution. They do arrest these people and charges are brought. Check most local papers' police blotters and you'll see tons of check related charges, so to say that bad check writing is rarely prosecuted is incorrect.

As to the total, I never said that he was being charged with millions in bad checks, I said that he blew through millions and that he owed millions. That seems to be backed up by the article.

As to lumping this criminal in with violent criminals, I'll grant you that. He hasn't physically hurt anyone. He has, at least to the satisfaction of the Las Vegas Police Department, committed a crime. Now, I will also grant that not everyone the police arrest is guilty of a crime, so I could be off-base in calling him a criminal at this point, but, given the number of people stating that he owes them money, and the number of checks written on numerous casinos, I'm pretty sure the word fits.

Because it's Friday, and I'm in a great mood, I will also grant you this regarding Walker. I don't think he committed his crimes in a willful manner. I think he's a genuinely nice guy that has absolutely zero common sense, and he got wrapped up in the living large lifestyle that is the gansta rapper world of many NBA stars. Buying watches, cars, food, suits, houses, etc for an endless number of people. Making some bad investments, listening to some "advisers" that did not have his best interests at heart. He got to the point that it went faster out than it came in, and ended up in a bad situation. All of that does not for one second change the fact that he wrote 10 bad checks to casinos. (casinos of all places...not exactly spending his money on wholesome activities, I mean it's one thing if Aunt Bee bounces a $50.00 check at the supermarket trying to feed cousin Billy, but casinos?).

I'm only saying that he committed a crime and is thus a criminal. Oh, and that he's quite the moron when it comes to dealing with money.

posted by dviking at 10:38 AM on October 30

Check most local papers' police blotters and you'll see tons of check related charges, so to say that bad check writing is rarely prosecuted is incorrect.

That depends on what we're talking about. Any check that's sent back for non-sufficient funds is a bad check. But the vast majority of people deal with it, either by putting more funds in their account or making good on the check. The prosecutor in Walker's case came right out and said that if he pays it, the charge goes away.

I guess that's why I just don't see this as criminal -- at least until he is convicted. Unless there's evidence he knew he was writing a bad check and had no intent of paying it, it seems more fair to treat it as a minor crime or no crime at all. I bounced 70 checks when I got my first checking account, back when the average NSF charge was around $15. I was a moron, not a crook.

As for casinos not being wholesome, that's a whole 'nother can of worms. Gambling is such an accepted American pastime that most of our states run their own gambling enterprises. Slot machines give millions of our elderly a pastime that makes it easier for them to accept death when it comes.

posted by rcade at 11:18 AM on October 30

rcade, now we're drifting from the real discussion.

To clarify, a criminal is someone that commits a crime. Not all crimes are committed knowingly, or willfully. To bounce a check is technically a crime. You took goods, and did not leave a valid, legal check. Yes, most merchants give you the chance to pay it, with a hefty fine imposed as well. They'd rather have your money than see you arrested. They absolutely can file charges if they want. The ones you read about in the paper are people that write multiple bad checks, and/or don't make good on them.

Even in this case, the casinos are more than willing to let him go if he pays up. However, the fact that they had him arrested shows that he had committed a crime. You actually make my argument when you say "if he pays it, the charge goes away" Why would there be a charge if there was no crime committed?

My point on the wholesomeness of casinos was only that it's hard to feel sorry for a guy writing $1m in bad checks to casinos compared to the individual that bounces a check trying to buy food for their family. I wholeheartedly support the gaming industry, and try not to support them too much!

posted by dviking at 06:06 PM on October 30

Why would there be a charge if there was no crime committed?

What's the point of having a trial?

If you're charged with a crime, you must automatically be guilty, according to your logic.

posted by tommytrump at 06:16 PM on October 30

Not all crimes are committed knowingly, or willfully. To bounce a check is technically a crime.

Only in Nevada. Most states require proof of intent while Nevada assumes intent. Not surprisingly, Nevada has ridiculous laws in this regard since their laws seem to be written by casino owners.

posted by bperk at 06:30 PM on October 30

Nevada has ridiculous laws in this regard since their laws seem to be written by casino owners.

Well, Nevada was built by casino owners, so who else is going to write the laws?

I managed a casino in Nevada for years, and the amount of bounced checks that I saw at a small outpost casino was mind boggling. You can debate the vices of gambling and those who profit from it all day, but the reason that Nevada presumes intent is that it is virtually always there. You might carelessly bounce a check to the store on occasion when you go to buy food, but people who write checks to gamble pretty much always know that they're bouncing it. They, as compulsive gamblers, think that they are going to get the big win and buy back the check before they leave the building. Often times they'll bounce two or three. Further, check forgers target casinos all the time. We'd get an FBI or county sheriff notice warning us about someone at least once a week. In an industry where so much money is changing hands so rapidly and credit is so readily available, protection must be in place. I would hardly consider the laws put in place to protect the lifeblood of an entire state "ridiculous."

posted by tahoemoj at 09:22 PM on October 30

What's the point of having a trial?

If you're charged with a crime, you must automatically be guilty, according to your logic

tommy, perhaps you missed my post about 5 up the list where I clearly stated:. Now, I will also grant that not everyone the police arrest is guilty of a crime, so I could be off-base in calling him a criminal at this point

bperk, I'm not a lawyer, nor a law officer of any type, so you may be right about most states, however I know in Texas I have only have to give the check writer a notice of the bad check. If they don't respond, for any reason, charges can be filed. In the case of a closed account I do not have to give notice at all, intent is never discussed with the authorities. Here's a link from the county that I do most of my business in. No intent is proven with the waiting time, and in most cases the person that absentmindedly bounced a check is calling me before it even comes back from the bank. I should say that they used to...I quit taking checks a while back due to the increased cost of dealing with all the bad checks out there.

posted by dviking at 03:47 PM on October 31

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