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Washington Commanders facing federal criminal investigation into financial wrongdoing

Daniel Snyder, Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders continue to find themselves in the news for all the wrong reasons. On the very same day that owner Daniel Snyder announced that he would be looking into the sale of the team comes this absolute whopper courtesy of ESPN.

Per Don Van Natta Jr., the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Snyder and Co. engaed in financial wrongdoing.

“The sources said prosecutors are focused on several areas, and that the inquiry was triggered by a letter the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent to the Federal Trade Commission and several attorneys general in April that alleged deceptive business practices. Attorneys general in Virginia and Washington, D.C., also are investigating allegations of financial impropriety.”

Report on Washington Commanders facing criminal investigation from the feds

During the spring the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission claiming “troubling and potentially unlawful financial conduct” on the part of the Commanders’ organization.

The House Committee was initially looking into widespread allegations of workplace misconduct within the organization when it apparently came across some evidence of financial wrongdoing.

The letter claims that information provided from former Washington Commanders employees indicate that Snyder engaged in “a troubling, long-running and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct.” This included withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams as well as refundable ticket deposits from season-ticket holders.

Related: Candidates to buy the Washington Commanders from Daniel Snyder

Criminal investigation into the Washington Commanders ups the ante

Daniel Snyder, Washington Commanders
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“One former employee testified before Congress, saying the team had two separate financial books: one with underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL and the full, complete picture.

According to testimony, Snyder was aware of the numbers shared with the league while also being privy to the actual data. The business practice was known as “juice” inside Washington’s front office.”

ESPN report on Washington Commanders’ latest scandal

For its part, the NFL is conducting a second investigation into the Commanders after having opted to fine the organization $10 million back in July of 2021 for alleged widespread workplace misconduct over the past several years. Coincidentally, said investigation is being head by former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Mary Jo White.

All of this comes on the same day that Snyder and Co. announced via a press release an intention to sell the organization following major push back other owners around the NFL and those who cover the league. There was some thought that he might be forced out.

Now that the Washington Commanders are under criminal investigation from the feds, they are getting defensive.

“It is not surprising that ESPN is publishing more falsehoods based solely on anonymous sources — given today’s announcement. We are confident that, after these agencies have had a chance to review the documents and complete their work, they will come to the same conclusion as the team’s internal review — that these allegations are simply untrue.”

Statement from Washington Commanders attorneys to the ESPN report

We will obviously have more on this story as it becomes available. For now, all eyes are once again on the embattled Daniel Snyder and his Commanders.

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