A former personal assistant for an NBA player was sentenced this week to 70 months in prison for stealing $4.7 million from the retired athlete, federal officials said.
Theodore Itsvan Joseph Kritza, 46, of Superior, Colorado, was also sentenced Tuesday to five years supervised release, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.Kritza was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $4,794,874 to the ex-professional athlete who was not named.
Kritza had previously pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud.
Attorneys listed as representing Kritza in the case could not be reached for comment Friday.
NBC affiliate KPNX of Mesa reported former NBA player Richard Jefferson employed Kritza.
After playing for the University of Arizona, Jefferson played for the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers. He retired from basketball in 2018, KPNX reported.
Jefferson could not be reached for comment Friday.
Kritza was hired as an assistant in April 2005, federal prosecutors said.
In that role, he was tasked with taking care of the basketball player’s day-to-day errands, including paying his bills.
Between 2005 and 2012, Kritza fraudulently obtained money by “forging the victim’s signature on more than two dozen documents, including business loans, credit line applications, and a power of attorney,” officials said.
He also forged his employer’s signature to open a bank account in his employer’s name to conceal Kritza’s use of stolen money, officials said.
“Kritza then used the stolen funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle for his family that included expensive luxury cars, homes, vacations, private school tuition for his children, business investments, and the attempted purchase of an airplane,” federal prosecutors said.
“We see this scenario time and again,” U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino said in the statement. “A confidant abuses a position of trust and embezzles someone else’s assets. Thanks to our partners at the FBI for their hard work on the investigation.”