Former NBA player Kermit Washington has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for defrauding charities of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to USA Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the western district of Missouri says the 66-year-old “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.”
Washington has also reportedly been ordered to pay up to $970,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in November in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, to making a false statement in a tax return and aggravated identity theft.
“His fraud scheme also victimized law-abiding taxpayers by stealing from the public treasury rather than paying taxes owed,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office added.
Washington played for five NBA teams in the 70’s and 80’s but he’s perhaps best known for throwing the punch that severely injured Houston Rockets forward Rudy Tomjanovich during a game n 1977. The blow caused Tomjanovich to suffer a fractured skull, broken jaw, broken nose and leakage of spinal fluid, and he eventually needed surgery to reconstruct his face. As a result, the NBA suspended Washington, who was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers at the time, for 60 games.