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Former Advisor Charged with Taking $4.5M From Ex-NFL Player

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A federal court judge in Indiana has indicted an advisor for wire fraud and other charges involved with taking $4.5 million from Cory Redding, who played with the Indianapolis Colts and other professional football teams from 2003 to 2015. (The court did not identify the NFL defensive player in its documents, but the Indianapolis Star did.)

On Friday, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler announced charges against Kenneth Ray Cleveland, 63, of Agoura Hills, California, for the alleged fraud scheme. The charges against Cleveland, who is no longer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, include seven counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.

The charges were brought after the FBI carried out an investigation of the matter. If Cleveland is found guilty, he faces maximum sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“People place great trust in those who help manage and invest their hard-earned money,” said Minkler, in a statement. “Exploiting that trust for personal gain through lies and deception is a crime that this office takes very seriously.”

According to the indictment, Cleveland worked as Redding’s advisor after the victim joined the Detroit Lions in 2003, after playing for the University of Texas-Austin. At the time, Cleveland was registered as an agent of Cleveland Financial Securities Corp of California.

The then-advisor allegedly promised to invest the NFL player’s money in “conservative investments that would yield a significant amount of ‘interest’ every month without ever depleting the principal,” according to Minkler’s office.

Rather than investing the money, though, the advisors appears to have spent it. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana says Cleveland used more than $2 million to run a Ponzi scheme that paid fictitious investment returns to other clients. Plus, he spent another $2 million or more on personal expenses — such as a home mortgage, credit card bills and payments to family members.

“Throughout the alleged scheme, Cleveland repeatedly reassured the victim, both in writing and in person, that his investments were safe and performing well. The indictment alleges that Cleveland routinely provided the victim with false information regarding his purported ‘investments,’ including fictitious financial statements,” the attorney’s office said in a statement.

The then-advisor also allegedly paid Redding “interest” using the defensive player’s own funds. The scheme ended when the victim started to demand the return of his money, which Cleveland could not produce.

As for Redding, he stayed with the Detriot Lions through 2008, played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009, moved to the Baltimore Ravens in 2010 and then joined the Colts in 2012. The defensive tackle played in Indianapolis for two years before ending his career in 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals.

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