Russell Erxleben Charged With Fraud
Federal authorities have charged former New Orleans Saints’ kicker, and University of Texas All-American Russell Erxleben with running an illegal investment scheme that raised more than $2 million.
The 56-year old Erxleben, who was arrested on Thursday, will appear before a federal magistrate judge on Friday on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering from 2005 to 2009. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the wire and securities fraud charges, and up to 10 years on the money laundering charge.
According to the indictment, Erxleben lured investors into fraudulent ventures dealing in post-World War I German bonds and paintings by French artist Paul Gauguin.
This isn’t the first time Erxleben has been in trouble, having been sentenced to federal prison in 1999 for an investment scam that robbed investors of $36 million.
Erxleben played college football at the University of Texas, where he kicked an NCAA record 67-yard field goal against Rice in 1977. He was also named an All-America punter in 1976, 1977, and 1978, becoming the only three-time All-America punter in NCAA history.
In the 1979 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selcted Erxleben with the 11th-overall pick, hoping he’d become both the punter and the place-kicker.
As it turned out, Rick Partridge was the primary punter for the Saints in 1979, while Garo Yepremian was used as the primary kicker.
Erxleben was 4-for-4 in extra points, and 2-for-2 in field goals that year, along with four punts for a 37.0 yard average.
In 1980, Erxleben opened the year as the team’s primary punter and place-kicker, but lost his latter duties after only two weeks, and three field goal misses, in five attempts. The Saints turned to Benny Ricardo, having Erxleben concentrate on punting duties only, where he finished with a 39.3 average on 89 punts.
Erxleben played three more years with the Saints, finishing his stint there with 279 punts for a 40.6 yard average, while connecting on 4-of-8 field goals and 7-of-7 extra points.
After being released by the Saints, and out of the NFL for three years, Erxleben made a one-game comeback with the Detroit Lions in 1987, before retiring.