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(CNN Spanish) – He has not lifted a professional baseball glove in 19 years but continues to receive a check annually, and for a considerable sum.
It is July 1, what for New York Mets fans is known as “Bobby Bonilla Day.”
The former player retired in 2001 after playing with the St. Louis Cardinals, but has been cashing each year, for almost a decade, a check for an amount close to $ 1.2 million from the Mets. This occurs every July 1.
The contractual bond was negotiated by Bonilla’s agent, Dennis Gilbert. The Mets will pay Bonilla $ 1,193,248.20 each year through 2035.
Bonilla, a former All-Star pick who left the Mets in 1999, will be 72 years old when his contract with the team expires.
How did Gilbert do to ensure such a good business for his client? You can both thank disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
The Mets wanted to part with Bonilla in 1999 but had $ 6 million left on his contract. Wilpon believed that he would receive a great return on his investment through Madoff, but it turns out that the Mets’ owner ended up being a victim of a Madoff Ponzi scheme.
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Rather than pay Bonilla at once, Wilpon opted to defer payments so that the money was inadvertently invested in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Bonilla’s agent Gilbert negotiated with the Mets to defer payments until 2011, with an annual interest rate of 8 percent.
Madoff was the brains behind one of the most notorious Ponzi schemes in history. A Ponzi scheme is a kind of fraud that uses funds from new investors to pay the earnings of previous investors, leading them to believe that their investments are part of a successful venture.
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence for the multi-million dollar fraud that spanned decades.
In total, Bonilla will win a total of US $ 29.8 million due to Wilpon’s blunder.
CNN’s AJ Willingham contributed to this report.