Trial begins for ex-UGA coach indicted in Ponzi scheme

MACON, Ga. -- Trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday for former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan, who is accused of bilking investors out of millions of dollars in what federal prosecutors say was a Ponzi scheme, reports the Athens Banner-Herald.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012 charged Donnan with running with an Ohio man an $80 million Ponzi scheme that included other college coaches and former players among its victims.

Donnan was UGA's head football coach from 1996 to 2000. He's accused of using his influence and connections to convince big names to invest, promising them returns of anywhere from 50 to 200 percent.

Valerie Fennell says she and her late husband were not famous, but they were victims, investing some $450,000.

"He just wore him down," Fennell said. "He would personally guarantee him what he put in, he would get back."

A federal grand jury indicted Donnan more than a year ago on 85 criminal counts alleging he defrauded investors out of millions, the Athens paper adds.

The indictment says Donnan told investors that the business, GLC Limited, resold merchandise from major retailers. They did have several stores, but prosecutors say all together, they only made $5.3 million in sales. Prosecutors said Donnan's family made $1.3 million from the scheme. He allegedly took home $8.4 million before filing for bankruptcy.

Donnan pleaded not guilty following the indictment.


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