UPDATE: Former UK basketball star acquitted of tax crimes
UPDATE POSTED SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 AT 1:27 P.M.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Randolph Morris has been acquitted of several tax crimes by a federal jury on Thursday, according to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
According to the report, the former UK and NBA basketball player was charged with three counts of wire fraud and eight counts of making false statements after he did not report millions of dollars of foreign income while he played professionally in China from 2010 to 2017.
The jury decided Morris did not intentionally defraud the United States.
“It was my understanding that that money was already taxed,” Morris said in court testimony.
Morris claimed his agent told him the Chinese income was already taxed. Instead, the Beijing Ducks, the team he played for, were only paying taxes to the Chinese government.
Emails obtained for court record showed that Morris tried to get tax documents from the team to give to his accountant to report his income correctly, but he never received them.
United States prosecutor William Moynahan tried to argue that Morris’ decision to not report his income was still illegal.
The trial lasted three days and contained arguments from attorneys and testimony from witnesses such as Morris’ wife, Andrea Morris, saying it was terrifying to have the IRS investigating the family.
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 AT 7:41 P.M.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Former University of Kentucky basketball star Randolph Morris is on trial, accused of deliberately avoiding paying taxes on $13 million he made while playing professionally in China, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The report says federal prosecutors claim Morris evaded paying an estimated $4 million in taxes. The report says the Foreign Tax Credit would have reduced that amount to about $1.5 million if Morris had filed his taxes properly. Morris is also charged with avoiding paying about $400,000 in taxes to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, according to the report.
Morris’ attorney told jurors on Monday that Morris didn’t intend to skirt his responsibility for paying the taxes. Rather, he misunderstood his contract and wasn’t helped enough by people he entrusted as a young man, according to the report.
Citing federal court records, the report says Morris faces three charges of wire fraud and eight charges of making false statements. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud charges and three years in prison for each of the false statement charges, according to the report.
Morris played at the University of Kentucky from 2004-2007. He was named All-SEC. He played for the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks in the NBA before going to play in China in 2010. During his seven years playing in China, he won three league championships with the Beijing Ducks and was named the Chinese Basketball Association’s Finals Most Valuable Player in 2014.
He played in Lebanon as recently as 2019, according to the report.