Lakers’ Lonzo Ball sues Big Baller co-founder alleging fraud

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              In this Dec. 21, 2018 photo, Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball warms up before an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Los Angeles. Lonzo Ball and his company Big Baller Brand are suing co-founder Alan Foster, alleging he conspired to steal millions of dollars from the shoe and clothing line. The lawsuit filed Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Los Angeles Superior Court says Foster concocted "a fraudulent scheme" to enrich himself with company money and also use it to buy property in Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball and his company Big Baller Brand are suing co-founder Alan Foster, alleging he conspired to steal millions of dollars from the shoe and clothing line.

Foster concocted “a fraudulent scheme” to enrich himself with company money and also buy property in Ethiopia, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. It seeks more than $2 million in damages.

A number for Foster and information about his attorneys could not be found Wednesday.

Foster mishandled tax filings and failed to distribute profits to Ball, the complaint alleges. Ball, who owns 51% of Big Baller Brand, has removed Foster as a manager of the company.

The lawsuit accuses Foster of making unexplained cash withdrawals totaling at least $1.5 million between 2016 and 2018. The suit says when confronted, Foster was unable to account for the missing funds and threatened “to publicly disseminate false and misleading information” about the Ball family.

Ball said in a statement last month that he had recently learned Foster was a convicted felon. Foster hid his criminal past from his partners and presented himself as an experienced business manager who could help maximize profits, according to this week’s court filing.

Foster was convicted in 2002 of defrauding more than 70 people of nearly $4 million, ESPN reported last month. He was forced to pay back most of that money and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Foster served five years but violated the terms of his probation and spent another five months behind bars in 2009, the report said.

Foster, a longtime friend of Ball’s father LaVar, co-founded Big Baller Brand in 2016.

Lonzo Ball, 21, has been out since Jan. 19 with an ankle injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.