GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Wearing handcuffs and leg shackles, sports agent Tank Black began the process of trying to prove himself innocent of cheating NFL players out of millions of dollars.
The U.S. government and Black's attorneys made their first public presentations Monday in the criminal fraud and money laundering case.
In a 20-page indictment unsealed by U.S. Magistrate Gary R. Jones, the government accuses Black and four employees of defrauding several former NFL clients, including former Florida stars Fred Taylor, Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green.
The accusations nearly duplicate those levied against Black by the Securities and Exchange Commission in a civil case filed last week. The SEC accused Black of defrauding athletes of $5 million in a period of four years.
The criminal case carries a sentence of up to 25 years in jail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Sanford asked that Black be held without bond pending his arraignment next Monday, saying the agent was a risk to flee the country.
Sanford claimed Black took an April 1998 trip to Jamaica with two fugitive drug dealers from Detroit. The prosecutor claims Black took another trip to Rio De Janeiro two months earlier with two purported drug dealers to buy property in Brazil.
''If Mr. Black has a history of assisting fugitives between countries, we have a strong belief he would be a risk to flee himself,'' Sanford told Jones.
Jones ordered a detention hearing Thursday and released Black in the custody of his attorney, Peter George of Tampa.
Both Sanford and George refused comment to reporters.
Normally outspoken in his own defense, Black stood stoically for the 90-minute hearing, speaking only to his lawyers. He left the courtroom without comment. His only show of emotion came when Sanford asked for the detention hearing.
Among those attending the preliminary hearing were Black's wife, his pastor and the stepfather of NBA star Vince Carter, who last week said he still supported the embattled agent.
Black gained control of money paid to the players by their NFL teams, funneled it into accounts and then used it for his own benefit, the indictment said.
Last month, Taylor accused Black of cheating him of nearly $3 million.
The indictment lists two payments -- one of $2.4 million, another of $650,000 -- from Taylor's account at Black's agency to accounts in the Cayman Islands that the government contends were used to launder the money.
Taylor was one of more than a dozen clients who invested a total of $12.5 million and $14 million, Sanford said.
Black, with the help of runner Alfred Twitty, recruited the players to his agency by offering them money before their college eligibility was complete, the indictment said.
Also indicted were Black's attorney, Jim Franklin; Twitty and employees Linda Wilson and Lisa Adams.
Adams also appeared Monday and pleaded innocent.
Florida authorities have filed a sworn complaint against Black, accusing him of unlicensed agent activity in the state.
Among those in the gallery Monday was state prosecutor Bill Cervone, who has been delaying action on the state case to see what federal prosecutors do.
''This puts our case on hold for a while,'' Cervone said.
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