Sacramento Kings

Feds return $13 million to Sacramento Kings after bizarre theft by top team executive

Four months after a former top Sacramento Kings official pleaded guilty to siphoning off more than $13 million from the franchise to purchase beachfront homes, the team says it has been repaid in full.

The team said in a brief announcement the U.S. Justice Department has “granted full restitution to the Kings in the amount of $13.4 million, which was previously seized by the U.S. DOJ and is directly traceable to the fraud committed by former Kings employee Jeff David.

“This decision to return the funds owed to the team is the direct result of the timely filing and successful completion of a civil asset forfeiture case filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California in August 2018, just days after the investigation began,” the team said.

David, the team’s former chief revenue officer, is scheduled to be sentenced next month on two counts of wire fraud and one of aggravated identity theft. He could face up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors are expected to argue for an 8½-year sentence and Sacramento defense attorney Mark Reichel is expected to argue for the minimum of two years.

David, who officials say cooperated fully with investigators once the scheme was discovered, is accused of siphoning off the funds from team sponsors Golden 1 Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente, then using the money to purchase luxurious homes in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. He also is believed to have spent some of the money on personal credit card bills and $100,000 of it that was paid to a private jet company.

Officials say David forged the signatures of sponsor executives as well as the Kings president to siphon off funds that were being paid into the team for the naming rights of the Golden 1 Center and sponsorship deals.

The scheme began to unravel after David left the team and later moved on to a similar job with the Miami Heat. A Kings employee going through an old computer David had used found a file labeled “Turbo Tax,” and the team began an investigation, then reached out to the FBI and U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott’s office for help.

The investigation moved so quickly federal authorities were able to go to court to seize the properties, and they both were sold last year for a total of $14.8 million. The balance of the proceeds is expected to pay for escrow fees, commissions and other costs.

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Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.