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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Randolph Morris Indicted for Wire Fraud and Federal Tax Violations for Failing to Report Income from Professional Basketball in China

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Randolph Morris was indicted yesterday on federal charges of wire fraud and making false statements on his federal tax returns.  As alleged in the indictment, from 2010 to 2017, Morris failed to report more than $13 million dollars that he earned while working as a professional basketball player in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

A federal grand jury sitting in Lexington returned an 11-count indictment against the 35-year-old Morris, who played at the University of Kentucky from 2004 to 2007, before entering the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he played until 2010.  The wire fraud counts allege that Morris submitted false income information to the Kentucky Department of Revenue, for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 tax years, when he played for the Beijing Ducks.  The alleged failure to report any of his earnings from his Chinese team during those years deprived the state of Kentucky of more than $400,000 in tax revenue.  The remaining eight counts allege that Morris failed to report his earnings from the Beijing Ducks on his federal 1040 and 1040A forms, for the years 2010 through 2017.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Cincinnati Field Office, jointly announced the indictment. 

A date for Morris to appear in federal court has not yet been scheduled.  He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each wire fraud count.  For the counts of making false statements on tax returns, he faces a maximum prison sentence of three years.  However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the Court, after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.

Any indictment is an accusation only.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Updated February 25, 2021