Wright Showed No Signs Of Trouble; NFL Lawsuit Will Continue

May 27 2008 | 10:57am ET

Convicted hedge fund fraudster Kirk Wright gave no indication that he was planning to end his life, officials said yesterday.

Wright met with his mother and lawyer on Wednesday, after being convicted of 47 counts of fraud and money laundering. John Mansch, chief of the Union City, Ga., jail where Wright hung himself on Saturday morning, said Wright’s attorney did not say his client was having problems, and Mansch said he did not pick up on anything when he spoke Wright.

“He’s a very intelligent young man, very well-spoken,” Mansch told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He didn’t give me any indication that he was under any particular duress. He just said, ‘I’m all right.’”

Wright, who faced more than 700 years in prison at his Aug. 26 sentencing, had been housed at the Atlanta-area jail since October. He was on “security alert,” typical for recently convicted inmates, and other special alerts due to altercations he had been involved in at other jail facilities, but not on suicide watch.

Wright, who had no cellmate, was found by a fellow inmate unconscious on Saturday morning just before 10 a.m.—prisoners are permitted to move freely in the units from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. The 37-year-old had hanged himself with bed sheets sometime between 9 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., jail officials say. The U.S. Marshals Service and Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating the suicide, the second suicide at the Union City facility in the past nine years.

Separately, a lawyer representing some of Wright’s victims, a group of six former National Football League players, say the International Management Associates chief’s death will not affect their lawsuit against the NFL and its players union.

Marlon Kimpson said the suit, which accuses the union of endorsing IMA in spite of liens against Wright, will move forward, and that the union hadn’t planned to call Wright as a witness.

“The point of the lawsuit is to make sure what happened does not happen again,” he said.

The players allege they lost $20 million in IMA. The union, the National Football League Players Association, has countersued, saying the former players broke union rules by failing to exhaust internal remedies before suing. The union says it does not endorse any of its registered financial advisers.

According to prosecutors, IMA collected more than $155 million. Wright allegedly returned $70 million to clients as part of a Ponzi scheme, lost the $31 million he did invest, and used millions more to enrich himself. Much of the money remains missing. Prosecutors said he kept up the scam by sending phony brokerage reports to his clients, but the scheme began to unravel when former football star Steve Atwater and several other NFL players sought to redeem their investments.

RELATED STORIES

Convicted Hedge Fund Manager Commits Suicide
Hedge Fund Fraudster To Football Stars Convicted
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