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Report: Mike Miller considering suing Heat over money lost in scam

Oct 25, 2013, 12:12 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four Getty Images

It’s a bit of a winding story, so stay with me: Haider Zafar is awaiting trial in Ohio where prosecutors say he scammed investors out of millions of dollars. He allegedly used fake documents and claimed his uncle was the defense minister in Pakistan, in charge buying land for the government, and he had this sure-fire investment through that connection. The trial is over allegedly swindling $10 million from a Washington D.C. area businessman among others, and Zafar has pled not guilty.

It came out as part of that pre-trial process that Zafar also is alleged to have scammed people in Miami, including former Heat gunner (now with Memphis) Mike Miller. Zafar was living large in Miami and apparently Miller says he lost $1.7 million in the scam.

Now Miller is considering suing the Heat over it because his attorney thinks the team has some responsibility here, reports Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald.

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.

The potential complaint alleges that Zafar — who had agreed to spend millions with the team over the coming years but never paid — asked a Heat executive to introduce him to players that might be willing to invest with him, and that’s how Miller got sucked in. Miller said the Heat executive vouched for Zafar.

Go read the entire story if you love drama and legal details, we’re not going to get into it all here. Unlike a surprising number of NBC Sports Talk writers, I was never an attorney, so I’ll steer away from the legal details.

However, as an experience journalist who has seen this before, I will say that if settlement talks have stalled making your case public is a good way to try and gain some leverage and jump start them, which is what appears to have happened here. It’s a whole different step to file the papers and start the legal proceedings. We’ll see if Miller would go that far, or if he just wants a better deal.

  1. eternallyill - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Mike miller is really loved here in Miami, I hope that doesn’t change when all is said and done…

  2. kingwithringz - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    The team shouldn’t have to pay for the tickets, they didn’t know the guy was a crook. Mike should sue his lawyers for not doing enough research before he invested his money.

  3. dls612 - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Change the title to mike miller’s lawyer is trying to brain wash him into suing the heat! Cause its definitely not on his own thinking!

  4. beach305 - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    It always amazes me when rich, successful people fall dumb scams like this. Don’t these people have finance advisors and tax accountants that could tell him that this is a scam from a mile a way?

    It really about greed for rich people like Miller. The average person doesn’t have the money to invest with con artist likes of Madoff and Scott Rothstein.

  5. 00maltliquor - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Mike the backstabbing type to blame everyone else for his own mistakes, huh?!

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I’m just upset because I had to pay $750,000 for mine.

    Seriously though, if Miller’s lawyer thinks making this public is a good way to try to gain leverage against the Heat, I think he’ll find that the public opinion will be strongly against him.

    Sadly all Miller should get out of this is a very valuable lesson. No such thing as easy money.

  7. herkulease - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    there’s more to this story. Why would the heat be in any kind of settlement talks if they had nothing to do with it?

    Fire that executive and tell Miller to go pound sand.

    • miamatt - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      That executive is no longer with the team.

  8. paleihe - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Mike, I’m a financial adviser. Let your other person go. He/she clearly didn’t look out for your interests. I’ll take over their fiduciary responsibilities.

  9. obmig - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    The Heat introduced them, he gave the guy money to invest, and the guy gave it to the Heat for seats. I think he has a valid complaint. If he didn’t the Heat wouldn’t be talking settlement.

    • bougin89 - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      It was the Heat’s way of “lowering his salary”. It’s the only way to give a guy a paycut in the NBA.

  10. southbeachtalent - Oct 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    The guy that introduced Mike to this thief “resigned” last season during the playoffs. The Heat will probably end up settling though, that turd was an extension of the team.

  11. cantonbound13 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Further proof all that “family” nonsense the Heat spew is crap. They will cut you & even cheat you out of money. Ask Stan Van Gundy & Antoine Walker if the Heat treat them like family.
    Hey Mike, don’t go on a Carnival Cruise any time soon.

    • cheezy123 - Oct 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM

      Are you kidding? They’re a lot like the family depicted in “The Godfather”.

  12. seanb20124 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Sounds like deal was to good to be true

  13. jdesan - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    How stupid are these players? How many times have you seen this happen with all Athletes? They’re making millions and greed drives them into these scams. Why not put some money in the Stock market? No, they have to get that “special deal” I don’t feel one bit sorry for these greedy, overpaid athletes.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 29, 2013 at 7:09 AM

      It is far from only athletes that fall for these scams, the guy on trial is there for taking $10 million off a DC businessman, not an athlete.

  14. onlyavoice - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    How Much Of This Story Is Actually True, Other Than Miller Getting Scammed.
    I Think I’m Going To Sue Ford Because The Salesman Sold Me Something From His Wife’s Garage Sale
    & I Never Received It.
    Maybe Mike Is A Nice Guy, But Maybe Mike Is As Dumb As They Come Also.

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