Former NBA star Kevin Garnett filed a lawsuit against his former accountant and his firm this week, accusing the firm of doing nothing to stop a former wealth manager from stealing $77 million of Garnett’s money.
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Filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Garnett’s lawsuit alleges Michael Wertheim of Kentucky and the Welenken CPAs firm "possessed actual knowledge” that the advisor, Charles Banks, was committing fraud. Wertheim reportedly worked closely with Banks on financial transactions, including spending budgets, “and for some reason chose to have virtually no contact with Garnett.”
"Banks intentionally ... looted Garnett of his earnings and assets for many years, including the many years that Welenken and Wertheim provided accounting services to Garnett and his business interests," the lawsuit said.
Banks pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge in April 2017, acknowledging that he had defrauded another former NBA star, longtime San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, of millions of dollars. He was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay Duncan $7.5 million in restitution.
Banks was not listed as a co-defendant on Garnett’s suit. His attorneys have denied their client engaged in any wrongdoing.
Garnett, 42, retired after the 2015-16 NBA season with more than $334 million in career on-court earnings, more than any other player in league history. He played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, winning one NBA championship as a member of the Celtics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.