NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks was cut by the Cleveland Browns a day after he and a childhood friend were charged with illegally earning about $1.2 million in profits from insider trading.
Kendricks and former Goldman Sachs banking analyst Damilare Sonoiki, both 27, were arrested Wednesday and charged with scheming to buy and sell securities based on tips from insider trading.
Kendricks and Sonoiki were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. They each face a maximum of 25 years in prison and fines of more than $5 million.
According to a report on Bloomberg.com, Sonoiki leaked nonpublic information to Kendricks about upcoming mergers so he could profit from securities trading after the merger was announced.
The scheme that began in 2014 earned the star linebacker $1.2 million in profits, according to Philadelphia prosecutors.
Kendricks allegedly gave Sonoiki tickets to Philadelphia Eagles games and invited him to the set of a pop star’s music video in exchange for insider information.
“Kendricks paid cash and shared celebrity perks for illegal tips that enabled him to trade and profit on confidential information that the rest of the investing public didn’t have,” Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement.
Prosecutors used text messages and emails to build their case against the two men.
Sonoiki once texted Kendricks in slang language about a $10,000 payment, according to Bloomberg.
“idk when next imma be able to see you … so try to have the bread if you can … the bread in nyc just isn’t the same and I really like my cheesesteaks with the stuff you all have in Philly.”
Kendricks won a Super Bowl ring with the Philadelphia Eagles team who defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII in February.
Sonoiki, a Harvard graduate, worked as a writer on the hit ABC sitcom “Black-ish” during the 2015-16 season. He resigned from Goldman Sachs to move to Hollywood 3 years ago, because he said he wanted a new challenge.
Kendricks apologized to his family, friends, fans, and team in a lengthy public statement on Wednesday:
Photos by Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Mitchell Leff/Getty Images