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Vikings legend Stu Voigt accused of running Ponzi scheme to defraud investors

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Minnesota Vikings legend Stu Voigt has been charged by federal prosecutors with conspiring to defraud individuals and financial institutions out of millions of dollars through a Ponzi scheme.

FOX 9 reports the indictment says the 66-year-old former tight end conspired with Jeffrey Gardner to use a business entity called Hennessey Financial between 2005 and 2007 to defraud investors.

Investors were told their money would be used for commercial real estate projects, when it was instead allegedly used to repay other investors and cover pre-existing debts. Voigt and Gardner are then accused of creating new companies when Hennessey began to fall apart.

KSTP reports that Voigt, of Apple Valley, was chairman of First Commercial Bank in Bloomington at the time and is said to have secured loans for Gardner, 61, of Hopkins, without disclosing his full financial situation.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger told KSTP that Voigt, who played in three Super Bowl games and was also a radio broadcaster for Vikings games between 1981 and 1989, was indicted Wednesday in federal court.

According to WCCO, the pair faces two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, four counts of mail fraud, five counts of bank fraud, and seven counts of giving false statements on a loan application.

Voigt faces an additional 18 charges of making monetary transactions in criminally derived property as well as two counts of making false statements to the FDIC.

The Star Tribune reported in 2012 that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. barred Voigt from banking and fined him $125,000 over alleged "reckless misconduct" and "personal dishonesty" while he was chairman of the Bloomington bank.

The newspaper notes that he was alleged to have extended a line of credit from First Commercial Bank to Hennessey during his time there.

According to Vikings.com, Voigt ranks 18th on the franchise's all-time receiving list with 177 catches for 1,919 yards. He played in 131 games over his 11-year career.

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