Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva appeared in federal court Tuesday, testifying against fellow former UConn basketball star Tate George.
George, whose buzzer-beater against Clemson in the 1990 NCAA tournament made him a legend in Storrs, has been accused of running a ponzi scheme and is facing federal fraud charges.
Villanueva is the most high-profile witness in the case, and he testified Tuesday that was been scammed out of $250,000 by his fellow UConn alum, The Trentonian reports.
Villanueva testified that, after signing a $30 million contract with Detroit, he had given George the $250,000 as an investment in a Bridgeport, Conn., real estate development. The NBA veteran said he 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,” according to the newspaper, but he never received any of it.
Villanueva said he was “hurt” not only by the the financial loss, but also because the alleged fraud was perpetrated by a fellow UConn product.
“And it’s $250,000!” he told The Trentonian. “That could have gone to my son’s education.”
George was drafted 22nd overall in 1990, but he spent just four seasons in the NBA. His best year came in 1991-92, when he averaged six points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 70 games for New Jersey.