The NCAA is already circling the LSU basketball program and now they might have cause to look deeper into the football program after an explosive case has surfaced involving a six-figure sum that was embezzled by a local booster.
According to the Baton Rouge Business Report, John Paul Funes pleaded guilty this week to embezzling anywhere between half a million and $800,000 from a local charity, Our Lady of the Lake Foundation (OLOL). While that would not normally crossover into the realm of athletics, Funes apparently directed some $180,000 to James Alexander, who is the father of former Tigers offensive lineman Vadal Alexander:
Four sources have confirmed for Daily Report that Alexander’s father, James Alexander, was the recipient of the $180,000, who is referenced in the court documents only as “Individual C.” James Alexander is a self-employed entrepreneur who lives in the Atlanta area, according to his LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Multiple attempts to reach him and Vadal Alexander, who went on to play in the NFL, most recently for the Oakland Raiders, were unsuccessful.
Funes also gave money to another (former) LSU player but the report in question is more pressing for Tigers officials given that Vadal Alexander was still on the team at the time his father received the payment, a potential NCAA violation.
“LSU was made aware of specific allegations by OLOL officials in late 2018 and made that information immediately available to the NCAA. As this is an ongoing inquiry, LSU will have no further comment,” LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Robert Munson said in a statement.
Former Tigers head coach Les Miles also denied knowing about the payments. Funes faces up to two decades in prison after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of wire fraud.