NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Mets player Tim Teufel is among the hundreds of Bernard Madoff investors who have been asked to return bogus profits from the fraudster’s Ponzi scheme.
A court-appointed trustee sued the former second baseman in December, demanding that he return roughly $1.2 million he collected from investments with Madoff over the years.
The suit doesn’t accuse Teufel of any wrongdoing or knowledge of Madoff’s crimes, but said the hefty returns he thought he earned were actually made up of money stolen from other investors. Similar suits have been filed against many other Madoff clients as part of an effort by the trustee to return as much money as possible to its rightful owners.
Teufel, now the manager of the Mets’ minor league affiliate in Buffalo, told Newsday he couldn’t comment on the suit, but he said it wouldn’t affect his job.
“It’s nothing I bring in here,” he told the newspaper in an interview at the Mets spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. “This is not the time or the place for anything personal. It’s all about the players. I’m a developer. I keep my personal life out of the clubhouse.”
Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and team president Saul Katz have also been sued by the trustee. That suit seeks at least $300 million in bogus Madoff profits. Unlike the claim against Teufel, it also claims the team owners willfully turned a blind eye to warnings that Madoff’s operation was too good to be true.
The Wilpons and Katz have strongly denied any wrongdoing. Fred Wilpon said Thursday at the Mets camp that he had been friends with Madoff for 35 years, and was duped and betrayed like thousands of other fraud victims.
A number of people linked to the Mets invested with Madoff because of his close ties with the Wilpons.
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