The inspiration behind the 1993 hit movie “Rudy” has agreed to pay back nearly $400,000 of $11 million securities regulators say he and others received in illicit profits from an investment scheme, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who founded and ran the Rudy Nutrition sports drink company before it fizzled, was considered a key player in the investment scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. He and 12 accomplices were accused of inflating the company’s penny stock price so they could profit from the run-up.
The movie, considered one of the top inspirational sports movies ever produced, focused on the life of Ruettiger, whose dream of playing football for the University of Notre Dame became a reality despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
But unlike the end of the movie, in which the Fighting Irish beat Georgia Tech in the re-created 1975 game and Rudy is carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates, Ruettiger’s role in the real-life SEC case ends in disgrace.
According to the 27-page SEC complaint, it was “a classic pump-and-dump scheme” that occurred between February and September 2008. Regulators said false and misleading statements touted the company stock behind the “Rudy” sports drink in letters to millions of investors, in Internet chat rooms dedicated to penny stocks and in online videos.
One of the claims Ruettiger and others made was that his sports drink outsold Gatorade 2-1 in a major Southwest test. Another claim was that a national distribution agreement had been signed for the sports drink, which hadn’t happened, the SEC said.
In settling his involvement in the scheme, Ruettiger agreed to pay back $382,866, the SEC said.