On March 18, 2020 the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered final judgments against defendants Marvin Mychal-Christopher Kendricks, a former linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles, and his friend Hamed Ettu, an IT professional. They were both charged with insider trading for securities traded between July 2014 and September 2014 based on material non-public information received from mutual friend Damilare Sonoiki, an investment analyst at a global investment bank. According to the SEC complaints, Kendricks and Ettu purchased securities before impending acquisitions, based on tips from Sonoiki, resulting in illegal profits of $1.2 million for Kendricks and $93,000 for Ettu.
The complaints describe the communications between the co-conspirators, and note that unlike Ettu, who freely used text messaging and phone calls to communicate with Sonoiki, Kendricks used video chats and coded language in texts in order to conceal the communications and minimize direct cell phone calls. As alleged, Kendricks compensated Sonoiki with free tickets to football games as well as invitations to nightclub events and a music video taping while Ettu forgave approximately $30,000 in debt that Sonoiki owed him.
According to the final judgment, both defendants are permanently enjoined from violating Section 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Rule 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder. Kendricks is required to pay disgorgement of $1,188,075 while Ettu must pay $73,244. Under the terms of the judgment, this monetary relief satisfies forfeiture orders entered in parallel criminal cases against each defendant. Kendricks pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud in 2018 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, but has not been sentenced. Ettu pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in the same jurisdiction, and was sentenced to 3 years of probation.
In May of 2019, Marc Wayne Ramsey, a friend and room-mate of Kendricks was also charged with insider trading, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and four counts of securities fraud for trades that Ramsey made using Kendricks’ brokerage account based on material nonpublic information from Sonoiki. Ramsey is currently awaiting trial for these charges. For additional information on the Ramsey matter, see here, here, and here.