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18 September 2018

Former NBA Player Sentenced for Charity-Related Tax Fraud

Former NBA Player Sentenced for Charity-Related Tax Fraud

As online charity scams increase, a former professional basketball player has been found to have been in on the action. Former NBA star Kermit Alan Washington was recently sentenced to six years in prison without parole and nearly $1 million in restitution for charity fraud.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington’s charity (The Sixth Man Foundation, doing business as Project Contact Africa) used an eBay storefront and PayPal account to sell $12 million in unauthorized, illicit, and counterfeit software and software components. Customers of the charity’s eBay store were under the impression that “100 percent” of the proceeds of sales were intended to go to the charity. Instead, Washington admitted to diverting funds from the charity’s bank account to pay personal rent, credit card payments, vacation trips and plastic surgery for his then-girlfriend. Washington even admitted that some funds claimed to have gone to paying the rent and school fees for a family in Africa were instead paid to a former prostitute.

Furthermore, Washington was found to have been involved with workers compensation schemes, filing false tax returns, and identity theft—all tying back to his charity. The scam was uncovered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division. Surprised ICE was involved? Don’t be. ICE doesn’t just have its eye on illegal immigration issues; the agency investigates commercial and money fraud, cybercrimes, and import/export activities, too.

Before this, Washington was perhaps best known for punching Houston Rockets player Rudy Tomjanovich during a 1977 game. Tomjanovich says he has long since forgiven him and feels sorry for his current state of affairs. Unfortunately for Washington, the IRS and ICE don’t feel the same way.

Image Copyright: sidorovstock / 123RF Stock Photo

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