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Richard Jefferson's former assistant embezzled $4.7M for fancy cars, homes, vacations

The former staff member of Richard Jefferson, a former UArizona basketball star, has pleaded guilty to fraud after admitting to stealing funds from the athlete.

TUCSON, Ariz — The former personal assistant of Richard Jefferson, a star player for the University of Arizona and several NBA teams, has been sentenced to prison after admitting to stealing up to $4.7 million from the athlete. 

Theodore Itsvan Joseph Kritza, 46, has pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud for crimes committed against Jefferson between 2005 and 2012. 

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office of Arizona, Kritza was hired to manage Jefferson's day-to-day tasks and finances. Kritza would forge the athlete's signature on dozens of documents in order to give him access to Jefferson's funds. 

Kritza, a former Chandler resident, spent the stolen money on luxurious cars, homes, vacations, private school tuition for his children, and business investments. 

Jefferson, who started playing basketball for Phoenix's Moon Valley High School, discovered the fraud in 2012 after finding out several loans had been taken out under his name, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

“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,” said Sean Kaul, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office.

A federal judge sentenced Kritza to 70 months in prison and ordered the defendant to pay $4.7 million in restitution to Jefferson. He will be placed on probation for five years following his release from prison. 

After playing for UArizona, Jefferson spent several years playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He retired from basketball in 2018.  

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