Reigning Super Bowl champion pleads guilty to insider trading and faces 25 years in prison
Last month, news broke that Mychal Kendricks, the Cleveland Browns linebacker, had been charged with insider trading offences. Alongside his co-defendant, Damilare Sonoiki, Kendricks was accused of using insider tips in order to make approximately $1.2 million across four major trading deals.
According to prosecutors, Sonoiki had been working as junior analyst at an investment bank a number of years back, and used his position to advise Kendricks on how and where to invest. In return, Kendricks gave Sonoiki $10,000 between 2014 and 2015, and was also given perks such as tickets to Philadelphia Eagles games (the NFL player's former team).
Now, it has emerged that Kendricks has pleaded guilty to the charges.
When asked by U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter exactly why he was admitting to the crimes, the Super Bowl champion simply said: "I’m making the decision because it’s the right thing to do."
He continued: "I know that I made the decision to accept information, secret information, and it wasn’t the right thing to do."
His crimes face a maximum of 25 years in prison; however, it is unlikely that Kendricks will serve anywhere near that long. His sentencing is due on December 18th this year, at which time it is expected that he will be handed a sentence that is no more than a few years, at most.
Shortly after he was charged, Kendricks admitted that he didn't really know much about insider trading - but he didn't use that as an excuse for what he did
"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.
Interestingly, he also claimed that he did not keep any of the money he made for himself, but would not disclose any details on where he sent the profits.
"I am committed to repaying all of the funds gained illegally and accept the consequences of my actions," is all he would say.
Understandably, fans of the football player are incredibly disappointed to hear that Kendricks was complicit in such a scheme - but others appeared to sympathise with the star on Twitter.
"Mychal Kendricks getting more jail time for turning 80 grand into 1.2 million than anyone who was involved in the housing market crash," wrote one person.
"Mychal Kendricks faces up to 25 years for an insider trading scandal but so many murders, rapists, and other worse crimes get far less. This country is f**ked," said another.
Sonoiki has not yet had a chance to submit his plea, but - according to his lawyer - the former Goldman Sachs employee intends on admitting his guilt. Details on his predicted sentence have not yet been disclosed, not has his sentencing date.
There is no doubt that Kendricks made a huge mistake by doing what he did, but at least he has taken accountability for his actions. Whether or not he will serve a significant amount of time behind bars remains to be seen, but his guilty plea is likely to reduce the maximum possible sentence.