SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Capping a corporate embezzlement scheme executed inside the headquarters of a major sports franchise, a federal judge on Monday sentenced a former Sacramento Kings executive to seven years in prison for a series of white-collar crimes.
Over a nearly four-year stretch in which he was responsible for courting lucrative corporate team advertising deals for the NBA team, ex-Kings chief revenue officer Jeffrey David diverted $13.4 million into a shell company by forging the signatures of other team executives. According to his plea agreement, from October 2012 through July 2016 David used the funds courted from at least five California businesses to buy beachfront homes in Los Angeles and private jet flights.
The Kings only uncovered the embezzlement after David left Sacramento for another professional franchise when a team employee uncovered computer files related to David’s scheme and notified the FBI in August 2018. David was quickly arrested and pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud just four months later.
U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott called the scheme “brazen” and credited the Kings for acting quickly and preserving the bits of digital evidence that David left behind.
“David used his high-ranking position with the Sacramento Kings to deceive businesses across the country into sending him millions of dollars,” Scott said in a statement. “Today’s sentence should deter others from committing substantial frauds such as this one.”
Fortunately for the Kings and their defrauded sponsors, including Kaiser Permanente and Golden 1 Credit Union, federal investigators were able to quickly seize and sell the homes. In all, the Kings got back nearly all of the funds that David spent on family homes, flights and credit card bills.
David detailed the scheme in a pre-sentencing letter to U.S. District Judge William Shubb, where he called his actions “delusional” and “criminal.” In the letter, David described himself as an alcoholic struggling with work pressures and his wife’s heart condition during the time he stole the Kings’ assets.
“When thinking about the terrible decisions I made surrounding this crime, I feel more than embarrassed and ashamed,” David wrote. “This was a cataclysmic mistake. It was wrong and selfish and criminal. I know that.”
Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence of 8 ½ half years, but Shubb ultimately gave David seven years. David is scheduled to surrender and begin his sentence on Aug. 20.