Football Scrimmage Line Scam Gets Sacked by the SEC


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The virtual "1st and Ten" yellow line electronically painted on our television screens was a football innovation launched 16 years ago on an ESPN "Sunday Night Football" broadcast. Sportvision, the developer of the patented overlay of the scrimmage line and down-and-distance marker has won multiple Emmy awards for the technology. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has just levied a second round of charges against a band of boiler room hucksters that raised nearly $2 million promoting – and misrepresenting -- a similar technology.

Peter Kirschner of Delray Beach, Fla. and his business partner Stuart Rubens, struck an agreement with Thought Development Inc. (TDI) to pitch an unregistered investment scheme related to a laser line system that would generate an on-field first-down marker -- shown not only on television, but visible to fans, players and officials as well. Kirschner and Rubens told investors that TDI had deals with the NFL to use the technology. No such agreements existed.

The SEC says $1.7 million was raised from more than 110 investors who were pitched an initial public offering (IPO) based on the technology. Instead, half of the proceeds were retained by executives or paid out in commissions and fees.

One investor was told that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell purchased the technology for use in the 2013 Super Bowl. The investor pitched in another $75,000 on top of an initial $2,500 investment.

"These sales agents misled investors to believe that TDI was on the brink of having its technology used in football stadiums across the country," said Eric I. Bustillo, director of the SEC's Miami regional office. "In reality, TDI had not reached any agreements with the NFL or any team to feature its technology during any games, and certainly not at the Super Bowl."

The defendants have all agreed to settle the SEC's charges.

—Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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