Former Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks pleaded guilty on Thursday to insider trading. Kendricks admitted to exchanging $10,000 in cash, NFL tickets, and access to extravagant parties in exchange for market-shifting information from his friend Damilare Sonoiki, who is closely connected to Wall Street. Kendricks could face up to 25 years in prison and a $5.2 million fine when he’s sentenced in December.
According to NBC Philadelphia, Kendricks made nearly $1.2 million when he traded ahead of the announcements of four companies being acquired in deals from 2013 to 2015.
Kendricks was released by the Browns shortly after the news of his charges became public. He admitted to wrongdoing in a statement released that same day. "I apologize. Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it. I invested money with a former friend of mine who I thought I could trust and who I greatly admired. His background as a Harvard graduate and an employee of Goldman Sachs gave me a false sense of confidence," the statement reads. "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."
When asked why he was pleading guilty by U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter, Kendricks responded, "Because I know I was wrong. I know that I made the decision to accept information, secret information, and it wasn't the right thing to do." When the judge pressed him about being coerced into pleading guilty, Kendricks said his decision was based on the idea that it was "the right thing to do."