Former Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat chief revenue officer Jeffrey David was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday for embezzling $13.4 million from two Kings sponsors in an arena naming rights scheme he executed in 2015. David pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges back in December.
David’s siphoning scheme was pretty brazen. According to a Sacramento Bee report, David established Sacramento Sports Partners LLC “using forged signatures from officials at the Kings, Golden 1 Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente,” and then convinced Golden 1 and Kaiser to make early payments on sponsorships he’d negotiated with the two companies. David funneled the money to the bogus LLC, then used the money to purchase “lavish beachfront homes” in Southern California. David’s attempt to explain his actions to the court during sentencing was a doozy:
David, who made $30,000 a month as the Kings chief revenue officer and also received a yearly bonus, said during court that he believed he could purchase the homes, improve them and sell them at a profit later that would allow the Kings to be repaid in full.
“I had intended to keep the profits for my kids’ college and my retirement,” David told Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb. “I didn’t want to use the principal for my family. I only wanted to use the profit. The principal was going to go back the the Kings.”
The trick, here, was that the Kings apparently were not expecting the sponsorship money for “several years,” per the original agreements, which David says would’ve given him time to invest the early cash in his real estate scheme, squeeze out some home improvement profits, and then sell the properties. David’s supposed plan, as outlined in his defense, would’ve necessitated another bit of fraud—a “phony Golden 1 account” controlled by David—to eventually wire the principal to the Kings on schedule.
That explanation was reportedly spiked back in David’s face by Judge William B. Shubb, who described it as “not credible” and “not worthy of belief.” David reportedly blamed his behavior partially on a “culture of alcoholism” he claims he cultivated with the Kings, and described his own alcohol consumption during that period as an “all-time high.” The Kings shot that detail down, according to the Bee:
“This is the first we have heard of these exaggerated claims,” the team said. “To imply a ‘culture of alcoholism’ existed is false. At no point was Jeff observed to be under the influence or have issues with alcohol while employed by the team.”
“The Kings have strong workplace conduct standards in place that every employee is held to – we do not tolerate drinking during business hours or while on the job and have strict serving protocols in place for the occasional end-of-day company sponsored celebration.”
David’s scheme was discovered by a meddling Kings employee, who discovered incriminating files while poking around in David’s old computer, after he’d left the Kings and moved on to a position with the Miami Heat. I urge you to read the full Bee report for additional details of David’s extremely poor plan and his explanation for how it came to be.