The Miami Heat’s first hint that Haider Zafar was not the financial genius he claimed to be should have come when he failed to make a $3 million payment for courtside season tickets — or even well before that, according to Mike Miller.
Miller is now mulling a lawsuit against the Heat for introducing him to Zafar, an alleged fraud who stole millions from Miller and other players in an investment scam, the Miami Herald reports. Miller, who was released by the Heat via the amnesty clause this year, lost $1.7 million in the scam officials say was set up by Zafar, who claimed he was a member of a wealthy Pakistani family.
Miller initially asked for $700,000 plus taxes back from the Heat, the Herald reports, after Heat executive vice president of sales Stephen Weber introduced Miller and Zafar, advising the player to invest with Zafar. Weber told Miller that Zafar was “the real deal,” according to the complaint. Miller also alleges that Weber knew Zafar was a fraud and continued to recommend him to players, and that Weber set up “side deals” in his capacity with the team that benefited himself personally.
Of the $2 million Miller paid to Zafar, about $300,000 was paid back. Roughly $700,000 of Miller’s money went directly to buying tickets for Zafar, Miller claims.
James Jones and Rashard Lewis, who remain with the Heat, were also scammed out of money by Zafar. Neither has yet filed suit against the team.