OJ Simpson has been granted parole and will be released from prison in October after nine years in jail.
FORMER NFL star OJ Simpson will be released from prison after being granted parole overnight, and he’s not exactly going to walk out poor.
The 70-year-old will be a free man from October 1 after serving nine years of a 33-year jail term for kidnapping and armed robbery.
He was convicted of leading a group of four men — two of whom were armed — to storm a Las Vegas hotel in 2007 to steal sports memorabilia he says belonged to him.
But while Simpson has spent the best part of a decade behind bars, unlike most convicted criminals, his bank balance is still going to look pretty healthy.
One of Simpson’s close friends, Tom Scotto, told USA Today the ex-football star already has a sizeable pension after investing $5 million in a fund — run by the Screen Actors Guild — many years ago. How much that pension is worth today is known only by Simpson and his financial advisers.
While locked away, Simpson has also been receiving monthly deposits from his NFL pension, but there are varying reports as to how much it is worth. In February Sports Illustrated reported it pays him as much as $25,000 a month, and Time.com has reported a similar figure.
A key point here is when Simpson started collecting his NFL pension. Former players are allowed to start dipping into their retirement fund from age 45, though it is more common for them to wait until they are 55 or 65.
The later players decide to start collecting their pension, the greater the monthly payments are.
CNN Money reports if Simpson waited until he was 65 to start receiving benefits, he may receive approximately $100,000 a year. That means he may have amassed roughly $500,000 from his pension while in prison.
However, if Simpson started collecting when he was 55, his NFL pension may have paid him closer to $566,000 to date. If that’s the case, CNN Money reports he will receive $47,000 a year from this point on.
In the 1990s, Simpson was a celebrated sporting legend who increased his fame through movie, TV and advertising appearances. That all changed when he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
His sensational murder trial, which was dramatised in the miniseries The People v OJ Simpson last year, was must-see TV for Americans in 1995.
He was found not guilty of the murders, but found liable for the deaths in civil court two years later. He was ordered to pay $US33.5 million to his children and the Goldman family.
Much of that money hasn’t been collected, but Simpson doesn’t have to worry about using his pension money to fork out for those costs. Under American federal law, retirement income is protected from that judgment.
David Cook is a lawyer who represents Ronald Goldman’s father Fred, and told Fox News “pensions are bulletproof”.
“Absent divine intervention, they are nearly impossible to topple. This is frustrating,” he said.
Adding further to Simpson’s financial protection is his move to Florida in the late 1990s. As Sports Illustrated explained, Florida state law allows for the blocking of forced sale of residences. This means if Simpson owned a home there, he would not be obliged to sell it to pay his damages resulting from the civil suit.
However, California (where Simpson spent most of his life before the murders) reportedly does not have the same laws.
Simpson was reportedly worth more than $10 million in the early 1990s, but despite the dramatic course his life has taken since, Scotto says he won’t be left wanting for cash.
“He’ll be OK,’’ Scotto said. “He’s not going to be poor. He’ll survive.’’
A Buffalo Bills legend who finished his career with the San Francisco 49ers, Simpson was a five-time Pro Bowl player, led the league in rushing yards in four seasons and was named the NFL’s offensive player of the year in 1973.