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Lute Olson involved in possible ponzi scheme

In 2009, Lute Olson retired from coaching and probably expected to step out of the limelight.

While that may have happened for a couple of brief years, the former University of Arizona head basketball coach is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Olson was named as one of many Division I coaches to be involved in a possible ponzi scheme.

According to documents reviewed by Sports Illustrated, Olson invested $1.17 million with David Salinas, who committed suicide Sunday in the middle of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

While investors, a number of whom included high-profile Houston businesspeople, did appear to receive statements from Salinas, it remains unclear whether the bonds themselves ever actually existed, and it is uncertain how much each coach initially invested. According to government filings reviewed by SI.com, Salinas was never actually a registered investment adviser representative, and the J. David Group was never registered as an investment adviser firm with the SEC.

Olson initially declined to comment on the passing of Salinas, but when contacted by CBS Sports, decided to release a statement.

“I’ve known David (Salinas) for a long time and feel horrible for his family. That (his passing) is something that none of his friends could have expected. Yes, I’ve invested with David, and he’s been a friend for a while, but I did not invest money until after I had retired from coaching.”

While investing with a friend is not illegal, questions arise because of Salinas’s involvement with AAU basketball as he was the head coach of a successful program.

As of now this story is only connected to the sports world because of the names involved, but if investors of Salinas were receiving extra access to AAU players and the NCAA gets involved, the basketball world could be in for a scandal.

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