Former NBA player Kermit Washington has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges accusing him of embezzling nearly a half million dollars from his Project Contact Africa charity.

The Kansas City Star reports (http://j.mp/1tyUEzc ) that Washington's defense attorney entered not guilty pleas Thursday on Washington's behalf to charges of interfering with internal revenue laws, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, obstruction of justice and aggravated identity theft.

Washington was arrested last month in California after a federal grand jury in Kansas City indicted him.

Washington played for several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers. He's remembered for a nearly fatal punch to Rudy Tomjanovich during a 1977 game between the Lakers and Houston Rockets.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com