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Former NBA Player Prosecuted for Charity Fraud

A federal judge recently sentenced retired NBA forward Kermit Washington, 66, to six years without parole for his role in a charity-related fraud scheme, only one of several branching corruption cases with ties to the embattled former player.

In press release for the Missouri Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison addresses the charges in detail:

This former NBA player abused his fame and status to promote a charity scam by which he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that he diverted to personal spending on lavish vacations, shopping sprees, and even plastic surgery for his girlfriend. Although he told his donors that 100 percent of all donations would go to support charitable work in Africa … in fact he spent most of the donated funds on himself.

Washington's charity, The Sixth Man Foundation, was doing business as Project Contact Africa, which is also connected to several alleged schemes of tax fraud and identity theft related to the charity's eBay sales and subsequent PayPal transactions. Washington also admitted his role in funneling other professional athletes as clients to an attorney filing fraudulent workers compensation claims.

Prior to this, Washington was most widely known to NBA fans and historians as the man who broke the jaw of former NBA coach Rudy Tomjanovich in a brawl during their playing days. The fallout from that infamous punch led to strict rules aimed at preventing violence during NBA games.

Potential Preaching Angle: Even when we're doing good things or working on worthy causes and issues, shortcuts can lead to danger and calamity. If integrity becomes an enemy to progress, that progress is an illusion.

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