Kevin Garnett has alleged that his former accountant, and by extension the firm that employed him, are responsible for taking money from him. In a lawsuit that was filed in Hennepin County District Court, and moved this week to U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Garnett stated that his former accountant, Charles Banks IV, formerly of Welenken CPAs, bilked him of millions via business interests they shared. The suit names Michael Wertheim, the owner of the firm, as being complicit in the theft.
The suit seeks $77 million in damages, although it is not clear if Garnett lost that amount, or if he is seeking interest, penalties, and associated costs and losses incurred by the alleged theft as the full paperwork on the suit has not been made public. According to information provided by Reuters, it does appear that Garnett likely has a very strong case, as Banks IV is already in prison for the same type of crime the new suit alleges. Banks IV was found guilty of stealing undisclosed millions from another NBA star of the same era, Tim Duncan.
In 2017, Banks IV pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was also ordered to pay Duncan $7.5 million in restitution. Garnett’s suit does not name Banks IV as a defendant, per CBS Sports, even though he is the person that is alleged to have carried out the theft of his funds. It is believed Garnett left him off the suit simply because it is alleged that he is likely broke and no longer has sufficient assets to pay any judgment that may have been levied against him if found guilty.
Kevin Garnett is suing an accountant and his firm, alleging they helped a wealth manager steal $77 million from the retired Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics star. https://t.co/lZc0gsSzdw pic.twitter.com/7pJGujImb7
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 7, 2018
Garnett alleges that Wertheim had to be complicit in the financial misappropriation of his funds as it was his firm, and he was privy to all the records regarding how much money was coming in and how much was going out and to where. The firm supposedly had Garnett on a $40,000 per month allowance to ensure that he would not be financially insolvent when his playing days ended and to help protect him from the possibility of reckless impulse spending, per the lawsuit as cited by Reuters.
“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.”
No word was given regarding whether or not Garnett is facing current financial distress, but it is believed that he has enough to live comfortably. No comment on the case has been issued by Garnett or the defendants. It is also still unclear if Banks IV will be called in to testify in the case.
The lawsuit alleges Kentucky-based accountant Michael Wertheim and Welenken CPAs enabled Charles Banks IV of Atlanta to defraud Kevin Garnett through businesses in which Garnett and Banks shared an interest https://t.co/W1WQU2CJFP
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 7, 2018