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Crime News

Retired NBA Player Kevin Garnett Accuses Accountants Of Helping Wealth Manager 'Loot' $77 Million

Retired Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics player Kevin Garnett filed a federal malpractice lawsuit not against the wealth manager he said stole from him, but from the accountant he claimed let it happen.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Retired NBA star Kevin Garnett has filed a lawsuit alleging that an accountant and his firm helped a third party wealth manager steal millions of dollars from him.

Garnett, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics, filed a federal malpractice lawsuit accusing Michael Wertheim, an accountant, and Welenken CPAs, the firm for which Wertheim works, of aiding wealth manager Charles Banks IV in stealing $77 million from Garnett, the Associated Press reports.

Garnett claimed in his suit that although it was Banks who “looted” millions from him over the course years and that he did so even while Wertheim and his firm were employed by Garnett. According to the Associated Press, he further alleged that although Wertheim “possessed actual knowledge that Banks was helping himself to millions of dollars of Garnett’s money,” he “did nothing about it.”  

Garnett’s suit also claims that Wertheim “took direction from Banks and for some reason chose to have virtually no contact with Garnett,” according to the Associated Press. Banks, however, is not named in the suit, and Garnett’s attorney, Mark Gaughan, did not provide an explanation as to why when questioned by the Associated Press.

Banks was sentenced to four years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release last year, after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, the Associated Press reports. Banks formerly worked with retired NBA player Tim Duncan, and after being found guilty of defrauding the former San Antonio Spurs player and costing him millions, was ordered by the court to pay $7.5 million in restitution.

Defense attorney Greg Simpson told the Star Tribune that his clients deny “any wrongdoing” and “believe the suit lacks merit.” He continued, “They will be moving to dismiss it at an early stage.”

Gaughan, however, told the Associated Press that he and Garnett are “confident” that the situation “ultimately will be resolved in Mr. Garnett’s favor.”

[Photo: Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves participates in warmups prior to a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on January 19, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. By Stacy Revere/Getty Images]