Former Portland Trail Blazers power forward Kermit Washington has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he evaded taxes and defrauded charitable donors, A.J. Perez of U.S.A. Today reports. If convicted on all charges, Washington is looking at 40+ years in prison and a possible $1 million fine.
Washington allegedly used proceeds from his charity Project Contact Africa (PCA) to fund personal expenses and buy lavish gifts. There are also claims that Washington sent clients to California Attorney Ron Mix—who specializes in "workers’ compensation claims against pro leagues on behalf of former athletes"—who then contributed to PCA in exchange.
Per Perez, Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo made this statement on the case:
"Individuals who use charitable organizations to defraud donors and evade tax obligations inflict substantial harm on every U.S. taxpayer and cause untold damage to well-intentioned charitable endeavors," Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo said in statement. "The Department (of Justice) is committed to identifying those engaged in such criminal conduct and holding them accountable."
The specific charges Washington now faces are corrupt interference with revenue laws, conspiring to commit wire fraud, obstruction, and aggravated identity theft.
Washington played for the Blazers from 1980-82, earning his solitary All-Star appearance in his first season with the team. He played 10 seasons in the NBA, retiring in 1982 and again in 1988.
H/T: Dan Graves