Kevin Garnett has accused his accountant of conspiring to allow the same man in prison for defrauding Tim Duncan of stealing $77 million from him.
The Associated Press reports that Garnett filed a federal malpractice lawsuit claming his accountant Michael Wertheim and Welenken CPAs knowingly allowed wealth manager Charles Banks IV to siphon money from his accounts.
Wertheim “possessed actual knowledge that Banks was helping himself to millions of dollars of Garnett’s money and did nothing about it,” the suit states. Wertheim ”took direction from Banks and for some reason chose to have virtually no contact with Garnett.”
Banks serving 4 years after guilty plea in Duncan case
Banks is serving four years in prison after pleading guilty in 2017 to bilking former San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan of $6 million while acting as his financial advisor. Duncan was told that Garnett would be a partner in on of his deals with Banks.
At the time, Duncan’s attorney told Yahoo Sports that Duncan’s aim in his lawsuit was to prevent Banks from defrauding other athletes.
Banks is not named in the lawsuit. Garnett’s attorney Mark Gaughan declined to elaborate why the lawsuit only named Michael Wertheim and Welenken CPAs.
”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 reads.
Lawsuit: Garnett on strict allowance, denied his own money
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune details an alleged arrangement in which Wertheim worked with Banks to put Garnett on a strict allowance of his own money.
According to the lawsuit as documented by The Tribune, Banks denied Garnett’s request for $40,000 in a 2013 email to Garnett implying that his finances were in dire straits.
“Kevin, I have all the info from the accountant and suggested (and required cuts),” Banks wrote, according to correspondence from Banks to Garnett that is part of the suit. “This e-mail is just meant to convey the cold, hard facts, no opinion or judgement [sic]. It’s pretty ugly and going to be very difficult, but you can do it and it will change your life forever (financially).”
The lawsuit states that Banks took around $2 million for himself around the same time.
Michael Wertheim and Welenken CPAs denied the charges to the Associated Press, promising to “vigorously” fight the law suit.
Garnett retired in 2016. The 15-time All-Star earned $326 million over his career, making him the highest-paid player in NBA history at the time, according to Business Insider.
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