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May 26, 2016

Ex-NBA Player Charged With Embezzling From Africa Charity

A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday accuses former pro basketball player Kermit Washington with pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a nonprofit he founded to help need people in Africa, the Associated Press writes. Prosecutors said Mr. Washington, a forward who played for several NBA teams in the 1970s and ‘80s, spent donations to Project Contact Africa on jewelry, vacations, and other personal expenses.

The 64-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles and released on $75,000 bond. Mr. Washington “used his celebrity status to exploit the good intentions of those who donated” to the charity, which received a “very small fraction” of the contributed funds, said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the western district of Missouri.

The Kansas City-based investigation also produced charges against Ron Mix, a Hall of Fame football player and lawyer who largely represented former pro athletes. Authorities said Mr. Washington, while working for the NBA players’ union from 2005 to 2015, referred clients to Mr. Mix, who in turn gave $155,000 to the Project Contact Africa. Mr. Mix pleaded guilty Monday to felony tax fraud for claiming that spending as a charitable donation.