Leon Smith, a former staff member for the University of Kentucky basketball program, pleaded not guilty today on accusations of defrauding athletes of nearly $1.3 million on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Lexington, Ky, per the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Earlier in May, Smith was indicted on federal charges of money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The indictment also states that Smith was involved in “devising a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from clients by means of false pretenses.
Smith served in various roles for the Kentucky athletic department, including as director of men’s basketball operations under Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie.
As the founder of LSMG LLC, Legacy Pro Management Group LLC, and Legacy Athlete Management LLC, Smith was involved in providing former student-athletes, including former Kentucky basketball player Josh Harrelson, assistance in various roles such as real estate purchases, financial planning, and legal needs.
Harrelson, who was drafted by the New York Knicks in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft and currently plays professionally in Japan, has claimed that Smith lost $180,00 to Smith.
Smith, a wide receiver for the Wildcats from 1993-95, resigned from his position as assistant athletic director in 2010. He also worked under current Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart.