A lifelong New England Patriots fan who idolized Tom Brady invested nearly his entire live savings in FTX after the future Hall of Fame quarterback touted the crypto exchange in commercials, according to a lawsuit.
Michael Livieratos, a 56-year-old legal clerk from Connecticut, moved $30,000 in crypto into the now-bankrupt firm founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, who was indicted on fraud charges this week.
“As a New England Patriots fan my entire life, you can imagine the influence that Tom Brady would have,” Livieratos told the Washington Post.
Livieratos hired Florida-based attorney Adam Moskowitz, who filed a lawsuit in Miami federal court last month against Brady and “Shark Tank” co-host Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary, another FTX pitchman.
O’Leary and Brady “promoted, assisted in, and actively participated in” FTX’s “offer and sale of unregistered securities,” according to the lawsuit.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last month — a spectacular fall for a firm that was once valued at $40 billion during the height of the cryptocurrency boom.
“Literally overnight, Mr. Livieratos’ assets held in his YBA [yield-bearing account] were robbed from him as FTX imploded” and it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that O’Leary and Brady are responsible for “misrepresentations and omissions” while “aggressively marketing” the “deceptive” practices by FTX.
O’Leary, Brady and other celebrities “hyped FTX to their social media fans, driving retail consumer adoption of the deceptive FTX platform,” the lawsuit states.
O’Leary recently revealed that he lost his $15 million fee that he was paid as a spokesperson for FTX.
Brady, along with his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, took an equity in FTX last year. The amount was not disclosed, but the pair had agreed to donate millions of dollars to FTX’s effective altruism mission, the company said at the time of the deal.
Both Brady and O’Leary were not immediately available for comment.
The Justice Department on Tuesday announced a slew of charges against Bankman-Fried, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud.
If convicted, Bankman-Fried faces a maximum of 115 years in prison. He is being held at a Bahamian jail, where he is fighting extradition to the United States.
Several celebrity endorsers, including Larry David, Stephen Curry, Naomi Osaka and others, have been named in class-action lawsuits filed in the wake of FTX’s collapse.
The firm imploded after rival crypto exchange Binance liquidated all of its holdings in the FTT token, FTX’s in-house digital coin.
Binance sold off its FTT holdings and pulled out of a rescue plan for FTX after learning that Bankman-Fried was using customer funds to cover debts incurred by sister hedge fund Alameda Research.
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