A member of the New York Jets practice squad is accusing his former manager of stealing more than $800,000 of his $1 million signing bonus.
The Atlanta Police Department's major fraud unit is investigating claims made by Dexter Jackson, 25, from Dunwoody, that Michael Halbreich funneled money from their joint account after Jackson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008.
Jackson said he hired Halbreich, who is a former real estate attorney from Atlanta, to pay his bills and manage his money. Within a year much of the account had been depleted, according to Jackson.
"He stopped returning my calls. He stopped returning my texts," said Jackson, speaking about Halbreich. Jackson said Halbreich blocked him from accessing the bank account which contained his money.
When Jackson finally accessed his bank statements, he said it showed Halbreich wrote thousands of dollars worth of checks and made unexplained withdrawals.
"I was able to see he was writing checks not only to himself, buying antique guns, writing checks to other people, maybe even family members, friends, buying jewelry."
In September 2008, statements show he wrote a $400,000 check to open an investment account that Jackson said he hasn't been able to track down.
Jackson said Halbreich failed to file and pay Jackson's 2009 and 2010 taxes. An accountant confirmed to CBS Atlanta that Halbreich hired him to prepare Jackson's taxes in those years. The accountant said he was not responsible to file the tax returns.
Last year, Halbreich and a partner opened Stoddard's Guns and Range in Douglasville. According to an AJC article, the two invested their savings to build the business.
Jackson said he believes Halbreich used his signing bonus to open the shop.
According to court records, the IRS and Georgia Department of Revenue filed liens against Halbreich and his wife for unpaid taxes totaling more than $61,000.
Halbreich declined to be interviewed for this story when contacted by phone.
Investigative reporter questioned Halbreich as he left Stoddard's Gun and Range. Halbreich blamed Jackson for blowing through his bonus by buying many cars, homes and living a lavish lifestyle.
Jackson denied he is responsible for wasting the money.
"All my money is in his possession. I've been defrauded. He's basically controlling me, devastated my life and people around me and tore my family apart," said Jackson.
An Atlanta Police Department spokesman said the case appears to be a civil dispute but the department is investigating to determine if any crime was committed.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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