Linebacker My­chal Ken­dricks charged with in­sider trad­ing

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - By Clau­dia Lauer

PHILADELPHIA » Cleve­land Browns linebacker My­chal Ken­dricks has been charged with us­ing in­sider trad­ing tips from an ac­quain­tance to make about $1.2 mil­lion in il­le­gal prof­its on four ma­jor trad­ing deals, fed­eral prose­cu­tors an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Co- de­fen­dant Dami­lare Sonoiki was paid $ 10,000 in kick­backs in the scheme from 20142015, as well as perks like tick­ets to Philadelphia Ea­gles games and tag­ging along to a mu­sic video shoot or nightclub ap­pear­ances, said U. S. At­tor­ney Wil­liam McSwain. Ken­dricks won the Su­per Bowl with the Ea­gles last sea­son be­fore sign­ing with the Browns in June.

Sonoiki had been work­ing as a ju­nior an­a­lyst at an un­named in­vest­ment bank in New York, prose­cu­tors said. An IMDB pro­file lists him as a writer on the pop­u­lar TV se­ries “Black-ish” as well as other movies and TV shows.

In a state­ment re­leased by his lawyer Wed­nes­day, Ken­dricks said he was sorry and takes full re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions.

“While I didn’t fully un­der­stand all of the de­tails of the il­le­gal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I whole­heart­edly re­gret my ac­tions,” he said in the state­ment. He also claimed he didn’t take any of the prof­its for him­self but didn’t elab­o­rate on where the money went.

“I am com­mit­ted to re­pay­ing all of the funds gained il­le­gally and ac­cept the con­se­quences of my ac­tions,” he said.

Ken­dricks said he has been co­op­er­at­ing with au- thor­i­ties since the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan. McSwain de­clined to say when the in­ves­ti­ga­tion started, say­ing those de­tails would come out in court. The Browns didn’t know the ex­tent of Ken­dricks’ in­volve­ment in the fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion when they signed him to a one-year, $2.25 mil­lion con­tract, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion told The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the sen­si­tiv­ity of the mat­ter. The per­son said the team was un­der the im­pres­sion that Ken­dricks was not the fo­cus of the probe or had done any­thing il­le­gal. Ken­dricks could face fur­ther dis­ci­pline from the team, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial dis­missal. He will be an un­re­stricted free agent af­ter this sea­son.

A mes­sage seek­ing com­ment from the fed­eral de­fender rep­re­sent­ing Sonoiki wasn’t im­me­di­ately re­turned.

McSwain along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the FBI and the Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change Com­mis­sion which filed a sep­a­rate com­plaint said Ken­dricks and Sonoiki used coded lan­guage in mes­sages to try to hide their ac­tions. McSwain said Sonoiki, who had lim­ited trad­ing pow­ers at the time, would gave non-public in­for­ma­tion to Ken­dricks about ac­qui­si­tions and other deals that would af- fect the price of se­cu­ri­ties for at least four dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies.

Stephanie Avakian, codi­rec­tor of the U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion’s Divi­sion of En­force­ment, said in one mes­sage when Sonoiki was ask­ing for pay­ment, he told Ken­dricks that he liked Philadelphia bread used in cheeses­teaks more than the bread in New York and asked that Ken­dricks bring him some.

They also had a con­ver­sa­tion pre­tend­ing to be talk­ing about chang­ing the num­ber on Ken­dricks’ jer­sey to 80, meant to sig­nify the amount of money that should be de­posited into a new trad­ing ac­count, she said.

If the men are con­victed, they could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $5.25 mil­lion as well as the seizure of any prof­its made from the in­sider trad­ing.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league is re­view­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

The Browns said in a state­ment they are aware of the charges and said Ken­dricks will not travel with the team to Detroit on Thurs­day for the game against the Lions.

The Browns signed Ken­dricks as a free agent in June, bring­ing on the Su­per Bowl win­ner to up­grade their linebacker corps fol­low­ing an 0-16 sea­son. Ken­dricks spent six years with the Ea­gles, who drafted him in the sec­ond round in 2012 af­ter he played at Cal­i­for­nia.

The 5-foot-11, 240- pounder recorded a team-high eight tack­les in last sea­son’s NFC Cham­pi­onship against Min­nesota and had four in Philadelphia’s Su­per Bowl win.

TONY DEJAK — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this file photo, Cleve­land Browns’ My­chal Ken­dricks is shown dur­ing an NFL foot­ball train­ing camp in Berea, Ohio. Fed­eral prose­cu­tors in Philadelphia say Cleve­land Browns linebacker My­chal Ken­dricks used in­sider trad­ing tips from an ac­quain­tance to make about $1.2mil­lion in il­le­gal prof­its on four ma­jor trad­ing deals.

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