Mike Miller may sue Miami Heat after being defrauded
According to the Miami Herald, Miller was swindled out of $1.7 million by a con man who was posing as a member of a wealthy Pakistani family. Miller says he was introduced to the man by the Heat, who he says endorsed the man. He is seeking repayment of $700,000 the man, Haider Zafar, allegedly stole from him and used to pay for Heat courtside tickets. He is also seeking repayment of attorney’s fees.
Miller’s attorney likely told The Herald he was considering a lawsuit to pressure the team into settling. The two sides reportedly are far apart in their negotiations.
The Herald says Zafar last December agreed to spend $3 million for courtside seats to Heat games over three years but never submitted payment. The Heat’s then executive vice president/sales Stephen Weber had players meet with Zafar to discuss business opportunities, and Weber supposedly vouched for Zafar, telling the players the con man was “the real deal.”
Miller agreed to do business with Zafar and gave him $2 million to invest, but by a few months later he figured out Zafar was a fraud. Zafar gave the Heat a payment of $700,000 for the tickets, and Miller says that was his money.
Miller’s proposed suit says the Heat knew Zafar was using an unofficial identity, being investigated by the IRS and had not paid the team when they set up meetings between him and the players. Zafar is currently imprisoned in Ohio awaiting trial on fraud charges for an unrelated case.
James Jones and Rashard Lewis were also defrauded by Zafar and suffered financial losses, though they have not pursued action with the team.
Miller was released by the Heat over the summer and signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. He played three seasons with the Heat and helped them win two titles.