Tommy Tuberville, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, is running in large measure on his experience in college football’s Southeastern Conference, known as the S.E.C., where he coached Auburn University.
But he has had experience with another S.E.C., the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other financial regulators.
A review by The New York Times found that Mr. Tuberville, who leads Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, in the polls, has a history of involvement with at least three people who were later convicted of financial fraud in what were described as Ponzi schemes. Mr. Tuberville was largely seen as a victim and never charged with a crime.
In two episodes, Mr. Tuberville lost millions of dollars. A third was more minor, when Mr. Tuberville and his wife, Suzanne, bought a home through a company created by a lawyer who was later convicted of running a real estate-related Ponzi scheme.
The Times review included a small charitable foundation created by Mr. Tuberville, finding that its tax records indicated that less than a third of its proceeds went to the veterans’ causes it was set up to advance. The foundation also had bookkeeping issues.
The review raised questions about Mr. Tuberville’s judgment and financial acumen. While he has said on the campaign trail that he hoped to serve on the “banking finance” committee — the Senate has separate, and prestigious, banking and finance committees — he has at times undercut his own qualifications. Regarding an ill-fated hedge fund venture, he once told a reporter, “I’m not smart enough to understand all the numbers.”
In a statement, Mr. Tuberville’s campaign largely deflected financial questions. “Doug Jones, Chuck Schumer, and other liberal, Swamp Democrats are spreading lies in an attempt to smear Coach Tuberville’s career, accomplishments, and charitable service,” the statement said, adding, “Coach is focused solely upon serving his fellow Alabamians and faithfully representing their conservative values, beliefs, and desires.”
In one fraudulent scheme, Mr. Tuberville was an investor and a 50/50 owner of a financial firm, TS Capital, that was shut down by state and federal regulators. A 2012 complaint from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that Mr. Tuberville’s partner, John David Stroud, racked up trading losses of nearly $1.2 million and misappropriated nearly $2.3 million for “car payments, travel expenses, entertainment and retail purchases.” As one of Mr. Stroud’s lieutenants put it, the firm had “the optics of a Ponzi scheme.”