Former NBA player Kermit Washington, who is mostly remembered for nearly destroying Rudy Tomjanovic’s face in a Rockets-Lakers on-court fight back in 1977, has been arrested and is facing charges.
Washington was arrested on a warrant May 24 in Los Angeles.
Washington was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he evaded taxes and defrauded donors to his charity, according to documents unsealed in federal court, USA Today reported.
Washington faces more than 40 years in prison if convicted of the four charges: corrupt interference with the internal revenue laws, conspiring to commit wire fraud, obstruction and aggravated identity theft. He also could be fined up to $1 million.
Washington reportedly founded the charity, which is no longer functioning. He led the charity Project Contact Africa (PCA), where he claimed 100% of the proceeds would be donated to Africa. Instead, Washington allegedly diverted the money from the charity to purchase gifts and cover his personal expenses, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors claim a good portion of the funds PCA took in came from California attorney Ron Mix, a former NFL player whose practice focuses on filing workers’ compensation claims against pro leagues on behalf of former athletes. Washington funneled clients in his direction and Mix, in turn, made contributions to PCA.
“Upon receipt of these payments, Washington diverted the funds for his own personal benefit,” the Department of Justice said in a news release.
Along with diverting funds for his own gain, Washington allegedly filed false income tax documents from 2010-2013.
A 1980 NBA all-star, Washington played for LA Lakers,Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers, Portland TrailBlazers and Golden State Warriors during his career. He appeared in total of 507 NBA games, averaging 9.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.1 bpg in 25.3 mpg.
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