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On Wednesday morning, Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks apologized for participating in insider trading, not long after federal charges against him were announced.
According to NBC Philadelphia, Philadelphia-based U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said Kendricks is facing charges. FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission officials joined McSwain at the announcement, NBC Philadelphia said. Kendricks played six seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles before signing with the Browns this offseason. He started 13 games for the Eagles’ Super Bowl championship team last season.
Damilare Sonoiki, a television writer and producer who was a staff writer for the ABC show “Black-ish” in 2015-16 according to his IMDB page, is also being charged according to NBC Philadelphia.
Kendricks said he regretted investing money with a “former friend of mine who I thought I could trust.” Philly.com said according to public records, Sonoiki was a Goldman Sachs analyst.
Mychal Kendricks says he regrets insider trades
Kendricks’ statement said he has fully cooperated with the investigation and accepts full responsibility.
Kendricks said he didn’t understand all the details of the illegal trades, but “I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions.”
This is an unusual case for the NFL. It will have to figure out how this fits in its conduct policy, and if Kendricks will be punished. Philly.com said Kendricks is expected to plead guilty in coming weeks.
What did Kendricks do?
Kendricks made about $1.2 million by trading ahead of four acquisition announcements, NBC Philadelphia said. Sonoiki is being charged for receiving “kickbacks” from Kendricks, including Eagles tickets, NBC Philadelphia reported. Philly.com said Kendricks also gave Sonoiki cash bribes and arranged for Sonoiki to visit the set of Teyana Taylor, an artist who stars in the VH1 reality television show “Teyana and Iman” with her husband Iman Shumpert, an NBA player currently with the Sacramento Kings.
According to NBC Philadelphia, officials say Sonoiki set up a bank account that Kendricks could access, and they used coded language in a text message to disguise the initial $80,000 transfer into the account. Kendricks paid Sonoiki cash in person, NBC Philadelphia said.
“Within a year of beginning his employment at the investment bank, he was brazenly committing crimes,” McSwain said, according to NBC Philadelphia. “He is alleged to have passed material non-public info to an acquaintance, Mr. Kendricks.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission linked trades in Kendricks’ trading account to an IP address associated with Sonoiki, Philly.com reported.
Browns make a statement regarding Kendricks
The Browns put out a short statement, saying Kendricks wouldn’t travel to their final preseason game against Detroit on Thursday night.
Kendricks’ issues go beyond what the NFL might decide. Philly.com said the charges Kendricks and Sonoiki face carry a maximum 25-year prison sentence and a $5.25 million fine.
“They cheated investors and they cheated the law,” McSwain said, according to NBC Philadelphia. “If you commit insider trading … we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
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