SEC Charges NFL Player and Former Investment Banker with Insider Trading

Litigation Release No. 24252 / August 30, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Kendricks, et al., Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-03695 (E.D.Pa., filed August 29, 2018)

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a professional football player and a former investment banker with insider trading in advance of corporate acquisitions facilitated through coded text messages and FaceTime conversations.

The SEC alleges that after meeting at a party, Mychal Kendricks began receiving illegal tips from Damilare Sonoiki, an analyst at an investment bank who had access to confidential, nonpublic information about upcoming corporate mergers. Kendricks allegedly made $1.2 million in illegal profits by purchasing securities in companies that were soon to be acquired and then selling his positions after the deals were publicly announced, in one instance generating a nearly 400 percent return on his investment in just two weeks.

According to the SEC's complaint, Kendricks rewarded Sonoiki for his tips and other assistance, which included setting up an online brokerage account that both men could access, by providing cash kickbacks, free NFL tickets, and an evening on the set of a pop star's music video in which Kendricks made a cameo appearance.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Philadelphia, charges Kendricks and Sonoiki with violations of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder, and seeks disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains, pre-judgment interest, penalties, and injunctive relief. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania today announced parallel criminal charges against Kendricks and Sonoiki.

The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Rachael Clarke and Patrick McCluskey of the Market Abuse Unit in the Philadelphia Regional Office, with the assistance of John Rymas of the unit's Analysis and Detection Center. The litigation will be led by Jennifer Chun Barry. The case has been supervised by Mr. Sansone and Kelly L. Gibson. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Philadelphia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.