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Former UK Director of Basketball Ops charged with defrauding pro athletes

Drew Franklin05/08/17


Article written by:On3 imageDrew Franklin


A former Kentucky wide receiver and Director of Basketball Ops is in some hot water now that a grand jury has charged him with defrauding professional athletes, believed to be former Wildcats. Per the Herald-Leader, Leon Smith was indicted last week on federal charges of money laundering, aggravated identity theft and “devising a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from clients by means of false pretenses.” Smith's Legacy Athlete Management has been charged with conning athletes out of over $1.2 million via a variety of methods, some of which included forging signatures and receiving payroll checks issued to his clients. One of those checks was a $40,000 royalty check from the NBA Players Association. From the story:
In each instance, the client entrusted Smith with financial-account data, birth date, Social Security numbers and other personal information that allowed Smith to conduct authorized financial transactions on the client’s behalf. Smith then devised a scheme to defraud the clients, the indictment says. That included abusing his access to clients’ financial accounts and to use the money for unauthorized purposes, the indictment says. Smith received payments that had been issued to clients, including payroll checks and federal income tax refund checks, and deposited those items into accounts opened in the name of Legacy, and then “used the funds for unauthorized purposes,” the indictment says.
Smith was a wide receiver for the Wildcats from 1993-95 and then worked under Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie within the basketball program. He faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes. [The Herald-Leader]   UPDATE Pat Forde's story names Josh Harrellson, Darius Miller and Shelvin Mack as three of the four athletes who were conned by Smith:

The indictment charges Smith with four counts of wire fraud:

- Transferring $14,000 from a private account belong to client “J.L.” to a Legacy Pro Management Group account on Sept. 12, 2012.

- Depositing a $40,000 royalty check from the NBA Players Association earmarked for Harrellson into a Legacy account on Jan. 28, 2013.

- Transferring $3,450 from a Harrellson account to a Legacy account on Sept. 5, 2013.

- Transferring $2,467.74 from a Miller account to a Legacy account on Sept. 18, 2013. [Yahoo Sports]

The entire indictment can be found here.

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