Update (3/6/15): The NFLPA has informed Sports Agent Blog that they have no record of Mr. Smith ever being a certified contract advisor with them.
Former NFL agent and Cincinnati Bengals player, Horace Smith, admitted in February that he used the names of football recruits to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from a veterinarian in Florida. Smith pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, admitting he forged players’ names on documents as part of the scam, according to a Elaine Silvestrini of the Tampa Tribune.
Investigations into Smith’s actions started all the way back in 2010, when NFL security looked into him for allegedly attempting to defraud three rookies of more than $350,000. As a result of the investigation, Smith was fired from his position as the director of college scouting for Willis & Woy Sports Group in Dallas, TX. The agency represented all three of the players and filed a suit against Smith seeking a restraining order and temporary injunctive relief in response to Smith’s allegations.
A victim was a Florida veterinarian, who had nearly $300,000 stolen from Smith and co-conspirator Joseph Vaccaro. Vaccaro worked for Oppenheimer and Co. in New York and contacted the vet with an investment opportunity that involved helping young football players. Smith said the investment was supposed to be guaranteed and provided notarized documents, which happened to be forged. The investment was made on behalf of three players whose identities were forged only by their initials and believed to be, Daryl Washington (Arizona), Emmanuel Sanders (Denver) and Lamarr Houston (Chicago). Instead of giving the money to the players, Smith used it for his own investments according to the plea agreement.
If you recognize the name Joseph Vaccaro, it’s because he is the same financial adviser who was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in early February. He admitted in his plea agreement to conspiring to defraud athletes by having them invest in 13 Burger King franchises in Virginia. He withheld the fact that he and his co-conspirators were keeping 50% of the ownership of the franchises without investing any money.