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Criminal conviction closes book on athlete/adviser relationship

For famed and long-tenured basketball superstar Tim Duncan, the enduring relationship he had with his financial adviser was akin to a partnership with a fellow player out on the hoops court who commanded respect through years of consistent and trust-inducing effort.

Indeed, it was Duncan's trust that inspired his continuing confidence and outright reliance on the professionalism of venture capitalist/broker Charles A. Banks IV. Banks made a number of investment suggestions to Duncan over a long span of time that the athlete duly acted upon by both handing over his own money and borrowing funds.

The unquestioned trust posited in Banks turned out to be, well, questionable, with Duncan openly ruing his innocence and reliance now, in the wake of being scammed out of millions of dollars.

In his capacity as a principal with a California investment firm, and thereafter while running his own company, Banks steered Duncan into investment vehicles while misinforming him on many accounts and personally profiting through commissions, payments and loans he was taking out in Duncan's name.

Ultimately, Banks came under the collective eye of both criminal investigators and civil regulators from the SEC. The now ex-adviser was sentenced by a federal judge in Texas last week to a four-year prison term and ordered to pay $7.5 million in restitution for his misconduct. Various civil penalties were levied against him earlier this spring in a settlement reached with the SEC.

And things are still far from over for Banks, with additional criminal claims currently being considered in arbitration and in another federal court, respectively.

Duncan says he now feels a sense of vindication after serving as the "poster child for a dumb athlete whose financial adviser took his money." The athlete says that he sought justice to send a deterrent message to advisers all across the country who might be inclined to defraud trusting clients because they think they can get away with it.

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