Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is having another tough season with his young team placed at the bottom of the eastern conference standings — but there’s also been financial drama off the court, according to an Australian court.
Former Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs player Shane Heal faced court in Australia on Friday charged with three counts of fraud. He is accused of “dishonestly gaining a benefit” of a total of $750,000 from three different investment vehicles he ran after retirement from basketball.
Brown is one of Heal’s biggest alleged victims, being fleeced of more than $250,000, according to Fairfax Media. Heal did not enter a plea at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, with the case adjourned to December 16.
In the early 2000s, Heal was the franchise player at the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League while Brown was a head coach. The fraud relates to a $250,000 loan Brown granted to Heal in 2009 for a property deal, reports Fairfax, before Heal went bankrupt in 2011 while owing more than $8 million to creditors.
Grant Cadee, chief executive of the Sydney Kings when Heal was a player, has also allegedly been defrauded a significant amount.
“I am not guilty and will set about proving this,” Heal said in a statement.
“I understand that this case will have public interest but I ask for some privacy and an understanding that, on my lawyers’ advice, I can’t talk about specific details. My side of the story will eventually come out.”
Heal represented Australia in four Olympic games — 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 — and came to the attention of NBA scouts after a chest-to-chest clash with Charles Barkley in exhibition games against Team USA in 1996. A season with the Minnesota Timberwolves followed in 1996/97, as well as a 2003/04 stint with the San Antonio Spurs, where Brown was a director of player development.
According to Fairfax Media, Heal was involved in a business empire with more than 30 fast food franchises and a property business that hired more than 350 people. Heal also coached the Sydney Kings between 2012 and 2014.
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