Chicago trucker accused of scamming NFL player
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter May 9, 2014 4:46PM
Gregg Steinnagel, a Chicago trucker, leaves the Dirksen federal building after being charged with conning an NFL player and others, according to a federal complaint unsealed Friday. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times
Updated: June 11, 2014 6:11AM
A Chicago trucker conned an NFL player and others out of $1.5 million, according to a federal complaint unsealed Friday.
Northsider Gregg Steinnagel, 53, promised quick, large profits to the NFL player if he invested with a pal, then kept the cash for himself, the feds say.
The player’s name isn’t in the complaint; he is identified only as a former customer of Steinnagel’s who paid Steinnagel to transport a vehicle from Lake County to Florida and has the initials “D.H.”
But relatives of Steinnagel’s in court on Friday said Steinnagel had transported the vehicle of Devin Hester, a former Bears kickoff return star, to Florida.
Hester grew up in Florida and attended college in Miami. He kept a home in Riverwoods in Lake County before he signed with the Atlanta Falcons in the off-season.
According to the complaint, Steinnagel teamed up with a flight attendant named Jeffrey Fazzio, who posed as an attorney using the alias “Neal Rubenstein.”
After transporting the player’s car to Florida, Steinnagel introduced the player to Fazzio and promised huge returns at low risk for investments in distressed real estate, prosecutors allege.
Starting in 2011, the football player made several small investments that paid off; then Steinnagel and Fazzio took him for 14 investments totaling nearly $400,000, the complaint states.
Fazzio, of Pittsburgh, has since died, but Steinnagel was arrested early Friday and brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez, who released him on bond.
Steinnagel allegedly gambled with the loot he stole from the player and others at casinos in the Chicago area, Nevada and Florida.
Hester’s agent did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.