Report: Former Kentucky basketball staffer indicted for defrauding NBA clients

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
3 Comments

Former Kentucky basketball staffer Leon Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on felony charges of defrauding clients–some of them NBA players–for over $1 million, according to a report from Yahoo’s Pat Forde.

Smith was also indicted for aggravated identity theft and money laundering as the estimated total comes to nearly $1.3 million. Managing the Legacy Pro Management Group and Legacy Athlete Management–companies based in Lexington– Smith was charged with 14 counts of fraud involving four unnamed athletes between 2011-15, according to the indictment obtained by Yahoo.

Alleged victims are only named by their initials, but Forde reports that Utah Jazz guard and Lexington native Shelvin Mack is involved along with former Kentucky players who had stints in the NBA like Darius Miller and Josh Harrelson.

Smith was able to conduct financial transactions on behalf of his clients and is alleged to have taken that money and put it into his own business accounts. Court records show that Smith will have an arraignment date on May 15th in U.S. District Court in Lexington. Smith faces a maximum penalty of more than 30 years in prison while also dealing with a potential forfeiture of the money that was allegedly stolen.

A former football player at Kentucky, Smith worked as a special assistant under former Kentucky men’s basketball head coach Tubby Smith from 1997-99 and ascended to director of basketball operations from 2001-2006. After that, Smith was named an assistant athletic director under Mitch Barnhart in which he was a team administrator for the men’s basketball team from 2006-2009.