Every few weeks, Donald Barard pulls at least a hundred dollars from his 401(K) savings and social security payments and puts it in the account of his daughter Peggy for use in the commissary at the Alabama prison where she’s serving a 10-year sentence. It’s perhaps the most modest example of a life funded by the money of other men—although in this case knowingly. In a deep dive into the 60-year-old Peggy for Sports Illustrated, Alex Prewitt introduces readers to a woman whose charisma and claims of business acumen allowed her to work her way into the lives and finances of sports stars like Ricky Williams and Dennis Rodman. It’s believed Peggy—known by last names including Fulford, Williams, and King—managed to steal, at minimum, $5.7 million from them.
For much of the past two decades she billed herself as CEO of her own sports management company, with dozens of professional athletes (plus Cuba Gooding Jr.) as clients. She had a Fort Lauderdale mansion with a driveway stuffed with fancy cars and introduced herself as a Harvard grad who had struck it rich on Wall Street and discovered her calling: helping sports stars steer clear of scammers and “build generational wealth”—something she’d do for them for free. And she was entwined in more than their bank accounts: Williams’ wedding reception, which she orchestrated, was held in her backyard; when Rodman was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, Peggy was the only one he hugged on his way to the stage. But when one NFL wife suddenly found their accounts drained, she reached out to a fellow NFL wife who worked with Peggy—and she began digging. (Read the full story on how Peggy’s scam unraveled here.)