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Former Kentucky Hoops Staffer Leon Smith Charged With Defrauding Professional Athletes

A former Kentucky wide receiver and basketball staff member is facing serious federal charges.

Leon Smith, a Kentucky football player in the 1990s and later a Director of Basketball Operations under former UK coach Tubby Smith, has been charged with defrauding professional athletes of of more than $1.2 million.

According to the Herald-Leader, 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 provided various services to athletes through a number of different companies, and he is alleged to have bilked them for more than seven figures.

In each instance, the client entrusted Smith with financial-account data, birth dates, 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 using 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 he deposited those items into accounts opened in the name of Legacy, and then “used the funds for unauthorized purposes,” the indictment says.

Smith also used personal and financial data of clients to open unauthorized financial accounts in their names, including credit card accounts and lines of credit, the indictment says.

If convicted, Smith faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Per Yahoo's Pat Forde, three of the athletes who were allegedly victimized were Utah Jazz guard Shelvin Mack and former Kentucky standouts and NBA players Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson.

[ KSR ]