Former Kentucky F Josh Harrellson awarded more than $1M in suit against Leon Smith
A judge didn’t mince words in her final statement against Leon Smith, the former director of Kentucky men’s basketball operations, for his crimes against former Wildcats forward Josh Harrellson on Monday.
“Leon Smith preyed on Harrellson’s financial vulnerability,” Fayette County circuit judge Pamela Goodwine wrote in her final judgment. “His conduct is egregious. He engaged in deliberate, repeated acts of theft over the course of two years.”
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the judge awarded more than $1 million to Harrellson in his civil case against Smith.
Earlier this year, Harrellson accused Smith of defrauding and stealing money from him while Smith was supposed to be managing Harrellson’s investments.
The punitive damages were ruled to be $1,025,308.14 and compensatory damages came out to $170,884.69. The judge ruled that Smith will have to pay Harrellson both amounts, but it’s unclear if he’s capable of doing so.
In May, Smith was indicted on federal criminal charges of money laundering, aggravated identity theft and “devising a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from clients by means of false pretenses.”
His trial is scheduled for Sept. 5, and he has pleaded not guilty.
Harrellson was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets but was traded to the New York Knicks. Harrellson and Smith began working together shortly after.
Over a two-year span from 2014 and 2015, Harrellson was informed by a business partner of Smith, Justin Sherman, as well as an Internal Revenue Service agent, that Smith was taking money from him.