LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles Lakers Point Guard Lonzo Ball is suing a Gregory Alan Foster, 52, for defrauding the Ball family out of $1.5 million. It is alleged that longtime friend is the target of an FBI investigation.
Foster and Ball’s father, LaVar Ball met 10 years ago when their sons attended the same middle school. Foster and Ball launched Big Baller Brand in 2016. As co-founder of the company, Foster owns 16.3 percent of Big Baller Brand. A lawsuit was filed by Ball and Big Baller Brand in Los Angeles County Superior Court regarding the family’s athletic apparel company. According to the lawsuit, in April 2019, Foster was removed as a manager of the company.
According to court documents, the suit alleges Foster took more than $1.5 million from the company’s bank accounts. Foster also accepted “substantial undisclosed referral fees” from at least eight loans he arranged on behalf of the company with additional financing fees that added up to more than $950,000.
In 2002, Foster was convicted of running a fake stock scheme that deprived investors of $3.7 million. Foster and his partner, Steven Woods, pled guilty to money laundering and mail fraud. He was convicted and served more than 5 years in prison. Foster promised 75 investors returns up to 25 percent every 90 days, which was inaccurate. Some of the investors included former NBA players including Robert Horry, Avery Johnson, and David Robinson.
When asked about the investigation, Lonzo Ball informed The Los Angeles Times that he and his family were unaware that Foster had a criminal background in money laundering.
“Obviously, it hurt me just because of a lot of stuff I’ve been through with him, a lot of decisions he made on my behalf and stuff. So it hurt. It hurt a lot. Known him since I was like 12, so kind of hit me. But you know I’m over it now. Just trying to stay positive and move on to bigger and better,” Ball told the LA Times. Lonzo, who once thought of Foster as a “second father,” has now cut all ties with the former manager.
Foster’s whereabouts are unknown. The Ball family is in full cooperation with federal investigators, who according to reports have been investigating Foster for the past two months. Canyon News reached out to FBI public affairs specialist, Laura Eilmiller, for a statement on the investigation, we have not heard back from her yet.
Written Aina Jankunas