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Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger of Notre Dame fame accused of fraud by SEC

December 16, 2011 | 12:45 pm

Rudy
Rudy, the pint-sized underdog of Notre Dame football fame, is back in the spotlight –- but this time because the SEC accused him of stock fraud.

Daniel E. Ruettiger -- who in the 1970s walked onto the Fighting Irish sports team without the grades, money and size required – agreed to pay federal regulators $382,866 to settle claims that he and 12 others crafted a “pump-and-dump scheme” around his sports drink company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday that Las Vegas-based Rudy Nutrition sold “modest amounts” of a drink called Rudy in part to compete with Gatorade. But the main reason, the agency claimed, was so that Ruettiger and his colleagues could drive up the company’s stock price before selling off their own shares.

The drink was marketed under the tagline “Dream Big! Never Quit!” and was promoted -– falsely -– as selling better than Gatorade, according to the SEC. The agency claims that Ruettiger and others grossed more than $11 million off the alleged scheme in 2008.

Ruettiger, who inspired the cult classic 1993 film “Rudy,” didn’t admit or deny the allegations, the agency said. The company is no longer in business.

“Investors were lured into the scheme by Mr. Ruettiger's well-known, feel-good story but found themselves in a situation that did not have a happy ending,” said Scott W. Friestad, associate director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, in a statement.

RELATED:

SEC accuses former Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bosses of fraud

Prosecutors charge former Siemens employees in bribery case

--Tiffany Hsu

Photo: "Rudy Movie Rudy Ruettiger" Facebook profile

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