NBA Player’s Personal Assistant Sentenced to 70 Months for Theft of $4.7 Million

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Theodore Itsvan Joseph Kritza, 46, of Superior, Colorado (formerly of Chandler, Arizona), was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to 70 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Kritza was also ordered to pay $4,794,874 in restitution to the victim. Kritza previously pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud.

In April 2005, the victim, an NBA player, hired Kritza to serve as his personal assistant, taking care of his day-to-day tasks, including paying his bills. Between 2005 and 2012, Kritza fraudulently obtained funds by forging the victim’s signature on more than two dozen documents, including business loans, credit line applications, and a power of attorney. Kritza also forged his employer’s signature to open a bank account in the victim’s name so Kritza could conceal his use of the victim’s personal funds. Kritza stole money from the victim’s salary, endorsement contract, and sale of a condo. Kritza then used the stolen funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle for his family that included expensive luxury cars, homes, vacations, private school tuition for his children, business investments, and the attempted purchase of an airplane.

“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.”

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The FBI conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra M. Hansen and Jane L. Westby with the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

CASE NUMBER:            CR-17-00938-CKJ
RELEASE NUMBER:    2022-047_Kritza

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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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