Posted October 25, 2013

Report: Mike Miller considering suing Heat over $1.7 million scam

NBA
Mike Miller reportedly was a victim of an alleged real estate scam. (Issac Baldizon/NBA/Getty ImageS)

Mike Miller reportedly is considering suing the Heat as part of a real estate scam. (Issac Baldizon/NBA/Getty ImageS)

Mike Miller’s attorney told the Miami Herald his client is considering suing the Miami Heat after a team employee introduced him to a man who scammed Miller and other players out of millions.

Miller, who played for the Heat last season before being released following their winning the NBA championship, now plays for the Grizzlies. Settlement talks between Miller’s attorney and the Heat reportedly have stalled, leading them to draw up a complaint that could become a lawsuit seeking the entire sum.

From the Herald:

Miller . . . lost $1.7 million in a scam allegedly orchestrated by Haider Zafar, a South Beach bling king who presented himself as a member of a wealthy Pakistani family.

According to Miller’s complaint that has been drawn up but not yet filed, a Heat employee introduced Miller to Zafar, and Zafar used $700,000 of the money he stole from Miller to pay for courtside Heat tickets.

Settlement talks between Miller and the Heat have stalled. Miller asked for that $700,000 back from the Heat, plus attorney’s fees, but “the parties were far apart,” Miller’s attorney, Andrew Fine, said.

In the potential lawsuit, Miller is seeking a lot more: the entire $1.7 million that he lost in Zafar’s scam.

Miller’s complaint focuses on an allegation that the Heat knew that Zafar was a financial risk after he failed to pay for $3 million worth of Heat courtside seats and other team benefits.

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From the Herald:

According to the complaint which I obtained, Zafar last December agreed to spend $3 million over three seasons for Heat courtside seats and other benefits but did not submit payment.

A month later, Zafar asked Stephen Weber, who was then the Heat’s executive vice president/sales, to introduce him to “Heat players with businesses Zafar… could invest in.”

According to the complaint, Miller, “at Weber’s urging, met with Zafar at Heat offices,” and Weber told Miller that Zafar was “the real deal.”

The complaint said at the time of that January meeting, the Heat and Weber “knew that Zafar had not paid his obligation to the Heat and had disclosed he was using a false, or at least, unofficial, identity and had disclosed he was under IRS investigation.”

Miller also alleges Zafar used some of the scammed money to pay the bill for his Heat tickets.
From the Herald:

Miller determined that Zafar was a fraud in late April. Until that point, “Weber continued to vouch for Zafar even though he never paid” some of the $1 million due the Heat, according to Miller’s complaint.

Between February and April, Zafar paid $700,000 of the money due for the courtside tickets. Miller’s complaint claims that cash was money that Zafar stole from Miller, and the Heat needs to give that money back to Miller.

Heat players James Jones and Rashard Lewis also were defrauded by Zafar, who is imprisoned in Ohio.


54 comments
Kaiyotee
Kaiyotee

Mike Miller, you made the decision to give Zafar your money. Don't blame a third party for YOUR actions. 

JBer
JBer

Hey Athletes, it isn't hard to set up an account in Vanguard and buy index funds. No person is going to get you 20% a year returns. Stop being so damn greedy.

MelvinLWilliams
MelvinLWilliams

If I were Miami, I would pay the(small)sum and make sure things like that can't happen again. They're rich anyway.

credroc
credroc

Filomena Tobias' middle finger would like to weigh in.

WesVaughn
WesVaughn

For the team to be negotiating with Miller in the first place, tells me they are accepting some responsibility. If this were to go to trial the Heat could end up paying the full amount plus court and legal cost. Sound like it might be to the Heats advantage to settle this out of court.

DeCouseauZhoyieerre
DeCouseauZhoyieerre

So we have the Heat recouping their 3 million in unpaid ticket sales by this deadbeat by introducing this deadbeat to their players with the intent that the Heat players can provide deadbeat with enough funds so deadbeat can repay the Heat  for unpaid ticket sales.

CitizenKaykay
CitizenKaykay

BTW...Miller is an idiot....put your $$ in a bank and have a budget dope.

CitizenKaykay
CitizenKaykay

Here's what you do...a writing campaign to the prison in Ohio...detailing what a POS this guy is....let nature take it's course.....

Eric47
Eric47

He has no case. Heat probably were unaware about the guy being a scam artist. They never forced Miller to invest with him. He decided on his own free will to do it.

Domingues
Domingues

Who can he sue for that haircut?

Chris128
Chris128

How do you end up giving 1.7 million to someone who introduced as wanting to invest in YOUR companies?

c000868
c000868

People who "made" money off of Madoff schemes had to give it back; the Heat are no different.  Give the man his money back.  If not I hope he gets it all.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Miller is at fault for poor financial prudence and decision-making.

Stephen Weber is at fault for vouching for a fraud, and possibly worse.

And the Heat is at fault for not investigating such a dubious connection between their executive vice president of sales and this fraudster.

bambam824
bambam824

Sounds like the heat set up Miller to be scammed by zafar in order that the scammer could pay for his courtside tickets.

JimCatCabbage
JimCatCabbage

Athletes getting scammed by con men? Un BeLEEEEVEable. I thought you had to have at LEAST a Forrest Gump IQ to be an athlete. My bad....

JimBooli
JimBooli

I have nothing against Miller or for Miami Heat.  But I have a hard time with this story:


"Hey, Mike, you see this sleazy looking guy sitting right here in our office?  He's the real deal! He wants to invest in your businesses.  And oh by the way, we're not going to tell you he just scammed us 3 million dollars, he is under IRS investigations, we have never seen him do any kind of legit business dealings with anyone, and there is nothing in it for us for doing this, and yet we're subjecting ourselves to litigation by introducing you to him.  Go figure! So what do you say, Mike?"

Octavio
Octavio

He needs to sue whoever told him to wear a girl's headband.

salvaje50
salvaje50

He went to UF so no wonder the guy got scammed

Marty2
Marty2

You know, it doesn't have to be one or the other.  Miller could be a greedy, stupid person  AND the Heat employee could be wrong for leading him to be financially exploited by a crook AND the Heat can be guilty for employing such a low-life that would do that to their players.

eddie767
eddie767

Miller and the Heat were negotiating a settlement,so doesn't that prove they are partially at fault? Or,are they trying to keep something bigger hidden? Either way,if i didn't do anything wrong i wouldn't give him anything.

Robert96
Robert96

What an idiot............he deserves to lose the money. If it goes to court, I pray to be on the jury.


Rosie68
Rosie68

Please, what a dope. Dude, its called an "intervening criminal act", and you are one gullible young man.  

SteveCowan
SteveCowan

So, isn't Miller an adult, responsible for his own decisions?  Or does he rely on advisors?  Either way, doesn't seem the Heat organization is responsible for his loss, UNLESS he can prove someone in management told him it was a safe investment.

ReginaldJordan
ReginaldJordan

sounds like miller should be suing zafar and the guy who works for the heat who recommended him...if anything  this seems like he got swindled

cry1baby2usa
cry1baby2usa

One of my co-workers introduced me to a stock that went belly up. I lost 30.00. Can I sue my company to recover my money? He did tell me about the stock tip at work!

I can see Miller going after the guy but the Heat? Seems like a stretch but hey this is America. 

bulletrico
bulletrico

So this guy is scamming people so he can use the money to pay for court side seats???? That's all he wanted the money for??? STRANGE!!!

x72
x72

Damn Mikey Millah, you got gaffled.

StephenGrange
StephenGrange

Based on this information he would seem to have a case...Would like to hear from the team as to the situation tho...Well, that's why we have trials...

Ebullient
Ebullient

@Eric47 It seems the Heat had to have known the man was a scammer, given how he left them holding the bag for the best seats in the house.

jsmarkley
jsmarkley

@bambam824 Sounds like Miller did not fully vet Zafar before investing his money. The Heat didn't force Miller to hand over $$$ to Zafar.  Miller just did not do his homework & is looking for someone to blame for his poor investment.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@bambam824 No, it sounds like Stephen Weber is just individually an idiot, and now the Heat, as his employer, will have to deal with the fallout of his negligence.

misterdeltoid
misterdeltoid

@Robert96 If you get called to be on the jury for this case, just show them this post.  That should clinch it!

ThomasCox
ThomasCox

@Robert96 and I hope someone breaks into your home and steals all your valuables, because, you know...you deserve it. 

j7apple
j7apple

@SteveCowan lol responsible for own decisions? Thats what people that have millions do, pay others to look out for their interests. Yes, they do rely on advisors, and in this situation the Heat.



Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@SteveCowan Enticing an employee to participate in what you reasonably know to be fraud so that you or your business can get some of that money should carry some measure of responsibility.


Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@ReginaldJordan He did get swindled, but if an employee of the Heat was participating in the swindle in order to ensure that the Heat were able to collect the money they were owed from that stolen money, then they or their employee could reasonably be considered an accomplice.  And since they or their ownership have stacks of money and Zafar probably doesn't have any of the cash he stole, it would be reasonable to go after them.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@cry1baby2usa Did your co worker recommend a stock that he knew was likely to go belly up, so that the company could retain a profit on their shares of the same stock?

People seem to be missing the fact that the Heat profited directly from the scam, and that this employee may have willingly led Miller into it for that purpose (to cover up the fact that he/they got scammed first).

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@bulletrico It's more likely that he was scamming them because he wanted the money, and the agreement to pay for court side tickets was simply the cost of doing business, to get access to those players.

jbber
jbber

@StephenGrange I think he is still missing evidence that anything was "stolen." A fool and his money are soon parted. Hate the game, not the player

ReginaldJordan
ReginaldJordan

@playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied @cry1baby2usa the heat didn't sponsor zafar or tell mike miller to give him money....One guy who works for the heat recommended going to zafar miller should have known the risk and should have been more cautious about who he gives large amounts of money to

rjfisher72
rjfisher72

@jbber @StephenGrange but if the team knew Zafar was being investigated by the IRS and knew Zafar hadn't paid the Heat for tickets, they should have disclosed that to Miller. Also, it was a Heat employee who introduced Miller to Zafar and a Heat employee vouched for Zafar, those are important details. Also the fact the meetings took place at the team's facilities implies Zafar was approved of by the team. Maybe not the entire $1.7 mill, but at least half in my opinion.

Skins'Fan
Skins'Fan

@ReginaldJordan @playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied @cry1baby2usa but the Heat employee, on company time I'm sure, recommended another Heat employee to invest in something fraudulent so the wrongdoer (pr guy) can cover his butt for being defrauded. Miller definitely has a case and when you file these liability suits you serve it to all parties involved and let them decide who plays lead defendant.

Skins'Fan
Skins'Fan

@rjfisher72 @jbber @StephenGrange I agree. Half is reasonable without proving that management knew of Zafar's dealings with one of their employees. Although it is not their legal responsibility or duty to protect an employees outside investments against fraud... With duty owed there is no liability.


That being said, I have worked somewhere, processed a credit card, it cleared, then was later told it was fraudulent and the credit card company clawed their money back. Therefore Miller has a case to claw his money back from the Heat (700k) if it's proven the Heat KNEW Zafar was getting the money by defrauding another and accepted it anyways. That can definitely be a Heat employee. An employee represents the business as a whole, so it can mean the Heat as a whole can be held liabile.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@NotAnNCAAFan @rjfisher72 @jbber @StephenGrange 


The team profited directly from the scam to the tune of 700k they wouldn't have had if Zafar hadn't scammed Miller and paid them that money.  At the very least they probably owe him the 700k, but he may feel that they owe him more than that because their greed led to him losing the entire amount.


And we're not talking about his health records here, so the team may not have had any obligation to keep information about his non payment and shady character secret.  At the very least their employee shouldn't be presenting him as "the real deal" to one of their other employees.

NotAnNCAAFan
NotAnNCAAFan

@rjfisher72 @jbber @StephenGrange The team had an obligation NOT to release Zafar's financial information/status to anyone. If anything the party at fault would be Weber, but Im sure that going after him is less lucrative.