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NBA Player Zaza Pachulia’s Former Accountant Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft, Probably Never Will Have Basketball Clients Again

In dubious accountant news, Randy Usow of Mequon, Wis., has agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft of government property and one count of identity theft after stealing more than $800,000 by submitting fraudulent tax returns in the name of NBA player Zaza Pachulia and his wife, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Pachulia, a two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors who signed with the Detroit Pistons this offseason, is known as one of the dirtiest players in the NBA (and he’s great off the bench in NBA2K18, I might add), and I’m sure he really wanted to cream this guy.

But instead, Pachulia and his wife sued Usow in 2016 for breach of contract and fiduciary duty, negligence, and misrepresentation. The lawsuit stated the couple had incurred about $82,000 in penalties and interest from the IRS. The case was settled last fall; terms of the deal were not disclosed.

While theft of government property carries a possible maximum sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine and identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term, federal prosecutors have recommended three years as part of Usow’s plea deal, according to the article. Usow must pay restitution of $618,455.

Pachulia was on the Milwaukee Bucks in 2004 when he first met Usow, who owns Randy Usow Accounting Inc. Being from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, I’m sure Pachulia had no clue about U.S. taxes, so he hired Usow, who prepared the Pachulias’ taxes from 2004 until 2015.

Bad move:

From at least 2011 through 2015, [Usow] submitted bogus returns that fraudulently claimed large refunds, more than $800,000 worth in just four years.

That sum included a single $463,867 refund in April 2015, from a 2014 return Usow prepared. The refund went to a bank account Usow established in both his and Pachulia’s name, without the player’s knowledge.

Pachulia and his wife were unaware that Usow was submitting false returns in their name. He gave them copies of a proper return that showed a smaller refund due, about $164,000.

But Usow wasn’t done:

Usow transferred the large refund to another account he controlled, in the name US Government LLC, and then wired the smaller amount to Pachulia’s account to make it appear the money was from the IRS.

It wasn’t until 2015, after the Pachulias hired tax attorneys because their 2013 and 2014 returns were selected for audit by the IRS, that they figured out Usow was screwing them over.

They also learned Usow had filed at least six amended returns for the 2011 tax year, without Pachulia’s knowledge or signature.

On Usow’s business website, he says, “Planning ahead and keeping your money in check is important and can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. You just have to manage your finances and business operations properly.”

Welp, this was all probably bad for his business.