Ex-NBA star Garnett sues ex-accountant for $77 million
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[September 07, 2018]
A wealth manager already
convicted of defrauding one former NBA star also stole $77 million
from Kevin Garnett, and Garnett is suing his longtime accountant and
accounting firm, saying they helped it happen.
Garnett, who began and ended his NBA career with the Minnesota
Timberwolves and also played for the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn
Nets, is suing accountant Michael Wertheim and his firm, Welenken
CPAs, for malpractice, saying they enabled Charles Banks IV to
swindle Garnett by way of businesses in which they both held an
Banks pleaded guilty in April 2017 to one count of wire fraud in
swindling Tim Duncan of millions. In June 2017, Banks was sentenced
to four years in prison and ordered to repay Duncan $7.5 million in
Garnett's lawsuit, which demands damages in excess of $77 million,
contends Wertheim "possessed actual knowledge that Banks was helping
himself to millions of dollars of Garnett's money and did nothing
Mark Gaughan, Garnett's attorney, would not say why the lawsuit did
not target Banks as well.
According to the lawsuit, "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."
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Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett (21) blocks Phoenix Suns center
Tyson Chandler (4) in the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by
The lawsuit was initially filed in Hennepin County District Court
and moved this week to U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
In August 2017, in the wake of the resolution of Duncan's case
against Banks, Garnett's representatives obtained records of
Welenken CPAs and Wertheim, who had "provided accounting services to
Banks, Garnett, and virtually all of the businesses Garnett shared
Further, Wertheim and Banks set spending limits and budgets for
Garnett, knowing all along that Banks was taking millions of dollars
of Garnett's money for his own use, according to the filing.
In August 2013, Garnett allegedly asked Banks to wire him $40,000 of
his own money, according to the lawsuit.
--Field Level Media
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