FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -The massive securities scandal involving the Stanford Financial Group has left New York Yankees veterans Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady with their assets frozen by federal regulators, and it has even reached into the Orioles' minor league system.
Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta, who are clients of agent Scott Boras, confirmed that they have assets that might be affected by the civil case that has been filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against billionaire investment tycoon Robert Allen Stanford, who is accused of fraud involving the sale of $8 billion in certificates of deposits that boasted unusually high returns.
The scandal made headlines Monday when the SEC froze all the assets of three related Stanford financial entities. Friday, FoxSports.com quoted Damon saying he could not even pay his household bills and Nady maintaining he couldn't hold an apartment in New York because all their liquid assets have been caught in that net.
"I've been assured my assets and all my investments are safe and insured," said Arrieta, a top Orioles pitching prospect who received a $1.1 million signing bonus after the organization selected him in the fifth round in 2007. "I know there are people in that branch of Stanford who are in a little tougher situation. All of my investments are with the Bank of New York, where Stanford does some investing."
Wieters, a switch-hitting catcher who is perhaps the game's best prospect and the recipient of a $6 million signing bonus after being selected fifth overall in 2007, confirmed he is invested with the group and that his financial advisers are trying to get him out of the Stanford mess without losing any of his money.
"My financial people are real good with keeping in touch with me and assuring me that everything is fine," Wieters said. "All my money is insured and it will be there. And I do have other accounts where I can pay my bills and stuff like that. Hopefully, it will get worked out soon and we won't have to worry about it."
The Scott Boras Corp. provides financial services to clients through a subsidiary called Personal Management Consultants, but Boras told FoxSports.com that his company has no link to the Stanford group and that PMC does not invest money for clients.
"Our personal-management auditors have looked into the financial elements of it," Boras told the Web site. "None of our clients is in any financial jeopardy."
Boras told the New York Daily News that his agency will provide resources for the affected players in the short term.
Orioles nonroster catcher Guillermo Quiroz is also represented by Boras but said he has his own financial adviser independent from the agency. Orioles ace Jeremy Guthrie left Boras and hired Casey Close and Brodie Van Wagenon as his agents in December.
Arrieta said he keeps close tabs on his investments and has an accountant who monitors his financial situation independent of PMC.
"It's really sad that a lot of big league players and minor league players are having to deal with this at the start of spring training," Arrieta said. "It's going to be a major distraction. I just hope everyone involved is taken care of."
Arrieta has questions about the situation and how it has been handled. He said he was not contacted by anyone and only began seeking answers when he read about the scandal and its effect on Damon and Nady. He is not pointing any fingers at his agent, but he still is looking for more information.
"I just want to make sure everything's OK," he said. "I've always had a great relationship with everyone at Boras Corp., but [if his assets are involved] there would be a lot of questions."
Wieters called it a "tough time for everybody."
"Hopefully it will all get worked out soon. Until then, I don't have too many bills out there and the meal money is good," he said.
The uncertainty apparently isn't limited to clients of Boras. The New York Post reported Thursday that there are links between the huge sports management firm IMG and the Stanford group that could affect many more professional athletes and celebrities.