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Press Release

Former UVA Football Player Sentenced to 40 years for $10 Million Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – Merrill Robertson, Jr., of Chesterfield, was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for his role in a $10 million fraud scheme.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Robertson, 37, started Cavalier Union Investments, LLC, with co-conspirator Sherman Carl Vaughn. From 2009-2016, Robertson and Vaughn made numerous misrepresentations to induce individuals to invest with their company, including telling them they could rollover their retirement savings. Robertson identified potential investors through various contacts; including contacts he developed playing football at Fork Union Military Academy, the University of Virginia, and in the National Football League, while Vaughn focused on developing investment opportunities.

As a result of this conspiracy, Robertson and Vaughn fraudulently obtained more than $10 million from over 60 investors, spending much of the money on their own personal living expenses, including mortgage and car payments, school tuitions, spa visits, restaurants, department stores, and vacations.

Once Robertson began having trouble raising new investor capital, he became involved in a loan fraud scheme.  Robertson approached Cavalier investors and others and suggested that he could help them obtain loans and lines of credit.  Robertson and his conspirators then submitted falsified loan applications to banks and credit unions, which included false statements about the borrowers’ personal financial status, the purpose of the loan, and whether the loan was secured by collateral.

On August 24, 2017, a federal jury convicted Robertson of fifteen offenses, including: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; conspiracy to commit bank fraud; five counts of mail fraud; two counts of wire fraud; four counts of bank fraud; and two counts of money laundering.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Kimberly Lappin, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, and Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after the sentencing by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. The case was formerly prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Lee Martin and Stephen E. Anthony.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission Division of Securities and Retail Franchising assisted with the investigation.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:16-cr-33.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated December 7, 2017

Financial Fraud