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Former NBA Assistant Steals $4.7M From Player to Buy New Cars and Vacations

Photo: Ezra Shaw

Former San Antonio Spurs small forward Richard Jefferson's ex-personal assistant has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $5 million from the NBA player.

Theodore Itsvan Joseph Kritza has been sentenced to 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to bank and wire fraud for crimes committed between 2005 and 2012. He has been ordered to pay $4.7 million in restitution to Jefferson and will be placed on probation for five years after he's released from prison, according to KPNX.

Kritza, 46, a former Arizona resident, was hired to manage Jefferson's day-to-day tasks and finances. He had access to Jefferson's funds by forging the NBA player's signature on documents. Kritza used the embezzled money on luxurious cars, homes, vacations, business investments and private school tuition for his children, according to KPNX.

Jefferson first discovered the fraud in 2012 after realizing several loans had been taken out in his name. "For years, Theodore Kritza preyed upon the trust he gained with the victim and defrauded him of his hard-earned money and savings, choosing greed over trust," Sean Kaul, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office, told KPNX.

Jefferson, 41, who was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, retired from basketball in 2018. He played at the University of Arizona before being selected No. 13 overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2001 NBA Draft. Jefferson played with the New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

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