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

Oct 25, 2013, 12:12 PM EDT

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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.

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