Sep 18, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT
While there were a whole lot of Pistons players in Detroit on Tuesday working out to get ready for training camp, Charlie Villanueva was on a witness stand.
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are going after former Connecticut Huskies basketball player Tate George saying he is a con man who misused money invested with his company.
That includes $250,000 that Villanueva invested, and he took the stand Tuesday to testify against the former player from his same school, reports the Trentonian (via The Big Lead).
Soft-spoken Villanueva took the stand and told the jury he invested the quarter-million with his fellow UConn alum for a George project called Seaview Plaza in troubled Bridgeport, Conn….
Villanueva was promised the return of his $250,000, a profit of $37,500 and two percent on the gross for years to come; maybe more than $2 million. He never saw a dime….
After he testified that the loss of $250,000 “hurt” him, Villanueva told The Trentonian on the way out of the courthouse that it hurt him personally to be conned by a fellow UConn alum and athlete.
“And it’s $250,000! That could have gone to my son’s education.”
Prosecutors allege George was basically running a ponzi scheme and suggesting everything was legitimate because he had an accounting firm on board, a firm George had actually parted ways with years earlier.
Villanueva tried to do the right thing — invest his money with someone he trusted for a project in an area he wanted to give back to. Sometimes trying to do the right thing can lead to a hard lesson.
On the court Villanueva is in the last year of that contract he mentioned on the stand and will make $8.5 million this season, but he is not likely to be part of the Pistons’ regular rotations. He’ll be shopped around for a trade, mostly.