Shaquille O’Neal served in FTX lawsuit, lawyers say
Shaquille O’Neal has been served in a class-action lawsuit against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and multiple celebrity spokespeople, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said in a statement Sunday night. The announcement came several days after a Florida judge denied a motion to allow the NBA legend to be served electronically after allegedly dodging service for months.
“I wanted you to know the good news that we just served personally Shaquille O’Neal outside his house in Atlanta,” Adam M. Moskowitz, the attorney leading the lawsuit, said in a statement. “The good news is his home video cameras recorded our service and we have made it very clear, he is not to destroy and/or erase any of these security tapes, because they must be preserved for our lawsuit.”
Moskowitz and his law firm had been given a deadline of Monday to serve O’Neal, who Moskowitz said had “been hiding and driving away from our process servers for the past 3 months.”
O’Neal, who currently serves as an analyst for “Inside the NBA,” was the final defendant in the lawsuit to be served, according to the motion asking to serve him electronically.
The motion claimed that a process server had attempted to serve O’Neal dozens of times at his Texas and Georgia residences, and via mail to both the residences and his offices in Atlanta, where “Inside the NBA” is broadcast from.
Attorneys alleged in the motion that after an attempt to serve O’Neal in Texas, the process server “was sent an ominous and threatening text message by O’Neal or someone acting on his behalf.” The text message also claimed O’Neal lives in the Bahamas, which the law firm then determined to be untrue, the motion states.
The lawsuit accuses Bankman-Fried, O’Neal and other celebrity spokespeople, including Tom Brady and Larry David, of defrauding FTX investors.
“Mr. O’Neal will now be required to appear in federal court and explain to his millions of followers his ‘FTX: I Am All In’ false advertising campaign,” Moskowitz said Sunday night.
The four-time NBA champion has denied being involved in FTX beyond his sponsorship deal.
“A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,” he said in an interview on CNBC after the lawsuit was filed.
FTX, which collapsed late last year, shuffled customer money between affiliated entities, using new investor funds and loans to pay interest on old ones in an attempt “to maintain the appearance of liquidity,” Moskowitz told CBS News in an email.
“FTX were geniuses at public relations and marketing, and knew that such a massive Ponzi scheme — larger than the Madoff scheme — could only be successful with the help and promotion of the most famous, respected, and beloved celebrities and influencers in the world,” he said.
— Kate Gibson contributed reporting.