Richard Jefferson recently received some form of justice from a significant financial slight committed against him. His former personal assistant, accused of stealing millions from him, has finally been sentenced.
According to the Department of Justice, Theodore Itsvan Joseph Kritza was sentenced to 70 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson sentenced him.
Kritza previously pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud. In 2017, according to reports, Krtiza was accused of stealing $7 million from Jefferson.
When It All Falls Down
Additionally, Kritza was also ordered to pay $4,794,874 in restitution to Jefferson in the case that began in the early 2000s.
According to the DOJ, in April 2005, Jefferson hired Kritza to serve as his personal assistant, where among his duties was to take care of his paying his bills and day-to-day responsibilities.
However, Kritza reportedly took advantage and fraudulently obtained funds from 2005 and 2012. According to the DOJ, Kritza illegally obtained Jefferson’s funds by “forging the victim’s signature on more than two dozen documents, including business loans, credit line applications, and a power of attorney.”
Additionally, Kritza was alleged to have opened a bank account in the victim’s name by forging his employer’s signature, concealing his use of Jefferson’s personal funds.
Kritza allegedly executed a wide-ranging fraud on Jefferson’s multiple income streams, including a sale of a condo, his salary, and endorsement contract. Then the perpetrating began.
According to the DOJ, Kritza presented a lavish lifestyle for his family with the stolen funds. From luxury cars and homes to vacations, a child’s private school tuition, and business investments, Kritza looked like he was living the life.
He even attempted to purchase an airplane, according to reports.
NBA Player's Personal Assistant Sentenced to 70 Months for Theft of $4.7 Million: Theodore Itsvan Joseph Kritza of Superior, Colorado, has been sentenced to 70 months in prison for bank and wire fraud. https://t.co/IcHdWBV9KG
— FBI Phoenix (@FBIPhoenix) April 21, 2022
The Feds Watching
“We see this scenario time and again,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “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.”
“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. Today, Kritza found out the cost of his scheme,” said Sean Kaul, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office.
“This sentencing sends a clear message that fraud is a serious crime, with serious consequences. The FBI remains committed to pursuing justice for all victims of fraud.”
Multiple agencies were included in the case, including the FBI, which investigated, and the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in Tucson, for the prosecution.
It is unsure of where Jefferson and Kritza met, but the latter is formerly of Chandler, Arizona and now lives in Superior, Colorado.
Jefferson, a graduate of Phoenix Moon Valley High School in 1998, went to the University of Arizona under Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson from 1998 to 2001. Although he only had an 84-game career, he led the Wildcats to the 2001 national championship game, where they eventually lost to Duke.
Jefferson was the 13th pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He won an NBA title in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and now works as an ESPN analyst.