SAN ANTONIO (CN) – NBA legend Tim Duncan’s former financial adviser was sentenced Wednesday to four years in federal prison for cheating the San Antonio Spurs star out of millions of dollars.
Charles Banks IV, 49, pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud: a $7.5 million investment he encouraged Duncan to make in a sports merchandising company called Gameday Entertainment, which Banks led as chairman of the board.
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery also ordered Banks on Wednesday to pay Duncan $7.5 million in restitution and serve three years of supervised release after he does his time. Banks, of Atlanta, faced up to 20 years in prison.
On Tuesday, Duncan urged the judge in court not to be lenient on Banks, who he said had earned his trust “as my financial adviser and friend.”
Duncan, known for his calm demeanor, said he never wanted to see his name in the paper again after spending 19 years as a professional athlete, and that the con left him embarrassed.
“Judge Biery, you may not understand how difficult it is for me to be in the public light in this horrible way: as the poster child for a dumb athlete whose financial adviser took his money. I hate it and am embarrassed by it more than you can imagine,” Duncan told the judge.
“I hate the thought of Charles being able to do this to anyone else,” Duncan added. “My biggest fear is that you will give him a sentence that will allow him to go out into the world and tell everyone, as he has continued to do since his guilty plea, that he did not do anything wrong, and he proves it by having very little to no jail time. I respectfully ask you: Do not do that.”
Several NBA players attended the court hearing to support Duncan, including Manu Ginobili, Sean Elliott, Tony Parker and Kevin Garnett. Spurs Coach Greg Popovich also attended the sentencing.
Banks apologized to his family and to Duncan before learning his sentence. The disgraced investment counselor was released the same day he surrendered to federal authorities in San Antonio in September after posting 5 percent of the $1 million bail, according to court records.
Duncan told reporters afterward that he was satisfied by the sentence.
Prosecutors said Banks, as chairman of the board of Gameday, personally benefited from the investment, and from another $6 million loan he persuaded Duncan to make in 2013. Duncan is said to have discovered the swindle while preparing a property settlement during his divorce from his ex-wife, who he said in his statement similarly betrayed him.
“The things I have learned from that point to this have been mindboggling and have literally floored me,” Duncan said in court.
Banks still faces a lawsuit filed by Duncan last year, accusing him of misleading Duncan in several investments, including the Gameday deal. That lawsuit was stayed just after Bank’s indictment until resolution of the criminal case.
Duncan, 40, retired last year after spending his entire 19-year career with the San Antonio Spurs. He is virtually assured of election to the NBA Hall of Fame.