Inspirational former Notre Dame football icon Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger has agreed to pay nearly $400,000 in fines to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that he lied to artificially inflate the value of stock for a sports drink company, Rudy Nutrition.
“Dream Big! Never Quit!” read the brand’s tagline, but SEC officials say that the drink “Rudy” didn’t just dream big, it oversold its profits. Ruettiger and a group of 12 other co-conspirators lied in press releases, SEC filings and other materials to give investors the impression that the company was doing better than it was — resulting in a windfall of approximately $11 million.
As part of the settlement, Ruettiger and 9 other co-conspirators didn’t admit or deny guilt — but he did pay $382866 to settle the charges — including repaying $185,750 in profits.
“Participants in this scheme made false and misleading statements in company press releases, SEC filings, and promotional materials, and engaged in manipulative trading to artificially inflate the price of Rudy Nutrition stock, while selling unregistered shares to investors,”according to an SEC statement.
A former practice squad player for the legendary football team, Ruettiger’s story was turned into a movie, “Rudy”, in 1993; he has since worked as a motivational speaker.
He started the company in South Bend before moving it to Las Vegas in 2007, according to the SEC. As part of the accusations of fraud, the SEC outlined a scheme in which the company told potential investors that Rudy beat Gatorade and Powerade in taste tests.
Ruettiger, the CEO and Chairman of Rudy Nutrition, has been barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company.