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Grand jury indicts son of FSU coach

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 4, 2003


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A son of Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has been indicted in a securities fraud conspiracy that cost investors $10-million, including $1.5-million lost by the coach.

The federal grand jury indictment says R. Stephen Bowden and five others sold unregistered securities to 14 residents of Alabama, Florida and Tennessee in a scheme called the Millennium Fund.

Also indicted was Brian Burgdorf, 29, a quarterback and captain at Alabama as a senior in 1995.

Another defendant, James Michael Hanks, 37, of Hoover, Ala., is accused of recruiting Burgdorf and Bowden into the scheme, which billed itself as a developer of casinos in foreign countries and was closed by federal regulators in 1998.

Other defendants are William Earl Amos Jr., 49, of Maryland; Richard E. Busch, 59, of Panama; and Jacques LaTourette, 55, of France. The indictment also charges Hanks with tax fraud.

Stephen Bowden's lawyer, Mark White, said Stephen Bowden was a victim.

"Steve and his family lost a significant amount of money," White said.

Bobby Bowden did not return a call seeking comment.

Ron Marlow, a Burgdorf attorney, said Burgdorf is innocent of all charges.

Attempts to reach others named in the indictment were unsuccessful.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said in a written statement Friday an investigation showed the defendants directed the investors to transfer more than $10-million to Chateau Forte Consortium, the manager of the Millennium Fund; Trust Services, a Panamanian offshore trust firm and Private Asset Management S.A., a Panamanian brokerage firm, in exchange for stock in the Millennium Fund.

Amos negotiated an agreement to market the fund and recruited Hanks to assist him.

A suit filed earlier over the fund says investors were promised in 1997 a "guaranteed 14 percent return" for money put into the fund.

MARYLAND: The school is investigating its program after one of its assistant coaches allegedly gave several hundred dollars as an enticement to sway one of the top high school players in the nation to accept a scholarship offer, the Washington Post reported.

Athletic department officials confirmed a review is under way and the NCAA has been notified.

"Based on information that has been collected and shared with the NCAA, we believe the alleged violation is secondary in nature and there would be no serious institutional ramification arising from this review," the university said in a three-paragraph statement.

The Post reported assistant coach Rod Sharpless gave between $300 to $400 to defensive end prospect Victor Abiamiri, a senior at Gilman School in Baltimore.

The money was delivered in multiple payments.

After learning of the payments, Maryland ended its recruiting of Abiamiri, the player returned the money and Sharpless resigned under pressure.

Maryland officials, including coach Ralph Friedgen and athletic director Debbie Yow, declined to comment.

Attorney David Irwin, a family friend of Abiamiri, said the player and his family would not comment.

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