It’s a holiday week, which means that the news cycle is likely to be slow for the NFL, especially with the league office in New York having been given the entire week off by Commissioner Roger Goodell. However, in the case of Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks, this week could be filled with news regarding what is going on in his world.
Specfically, tomorrow the third person charged in the insider trading ring with Kendricks and Damilare Sonoiki is scheduled make his initial appearance in court, with a hearing set for 1:30 Eastern Time in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This third person, Mark Wayne Ramsey, was charged by the feds with the same four counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud as Sonoiki and Kendricks initially faced, and was arrested in San Francisco in May. Sonoiki and Kendricks both agree to enter a guilty plea in exchange for three counts of the securities fraud (insider trading) being taken off the table, but as I’ve noted previously, the conspiracy to commit securities fraud carries a stiff sentence under federal sentencing guidelines.
So, while we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, and whether Ramsey will plead guilty just as Sonoiki and Kendricks did last fall, what is known is that his involvement in the case is a direct result of his relationship with Kendricks. Per the filings in the case against Ramsey, he and Kendricks attended high school together in Fresno, California. After finishing his second season in the NFL, Kendricks allowed Ramsey to move into his apartment in Philadelphia, and Ramsey worked as a personal assistant for Kendricks. Many of the other basic facts are laid out in the court filing, so I’ll simply post a piece of that here.
Ramsey, after being tasked with the assignment of being in charge of making the trades communicated to he and Kendricks based on the inside information provided by Sonoiki, was apparently reluctant to take on the role. As noted in the court filing above, Ramsey knew that the scheme involved illegally trading on inside information, and so it is understandable why he might be hesitant to undertake activity which the three openly discussed as improper and illegal.
However, whether it’s because Ramsey didn’t want to rock the boat of the gravy train that was allowing him to live rent free while also covering many of his personal expenses or some other reason, he went along with the plan. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest that choosing to do something different, whether that be walk away or alert someone to the illegal scheme, would have been a very difficult choice, but in retrospect at this point it’s likely Ramsey wishes he hadn’t simply gone along.
In any case, by Tuesday afternoon it should become clear whether Ramsey will plead guilty or whether he’ll force this to trial. If he is found guilty on all five counts, he faces up to 85 years in prison and a $20.25M fine. Thus, if Sonoiki and Kendricks have reached an agreement where they may not face time following their guilty pleas, then it seems entirely reasonable that Ramsey may also agree to enter a guilty plea, assuming he can reach the same deal. On top of waiting to learn what their sentences will be, all three also still face civil cases brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Thus, in spite of the holiday this week, it could be a very busy week for news dumps that the parties prefer to have buried under holiday festivities. For all those who will be traveling and celebrating this week, be safe and celebrate responsibly!