Former NBA player Kevin Garnett has filed a federal malpractice lawsuit against accountant Michael Wertheim as well as his firm,Welenken CPAs, alleging that they helped wealth manager Charles A. Banks IV steal $77 million from him.
The suit claims that Wertheim “possessed actual knowledge that Banks was helping himself to millions of dollars of Garnett’s money and did nothing about it” over the course of several years.
“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,” the suit reads. There’s an allegation contained within the court documents that accuse Wertheim of taking “direction from Banks and for some reason chose to have virtually no contact with Garnett.”
The suit points out one instance where the California-based venture Hammer Holdings made investments with the understanding that Garnett and Banks made an agreed upon an arrangement that held a 50-50 interest. Under Banks’ advice, Garnett contributed $57 million while he put forth only about $2.5 million.
Shockingly, Banks’ name isn’t included in the lawsuit as a defendant, and Garnett’s lawyer, Mark Gaughan, wouldn’t explain why that was the case. His only response was that “based upon the facts, we are confident this matter ultimately will be resolved in Mr. Garnett’s favor.”
Banks was sentenced to four years in prison last year and ordered to make $7.5 million in restitution after admitting to defrauding Tim Duncan.
$77 million? We don’t know how we’d react if we discovered someone swindled $77 MILLION from us — but a lawsuit would be just the beginning.