Former Brown, Reggie Rucker, Faces Federal Charges
Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Reggie Rucker is facing federal charges for misusing donations meant for charities he led.
Federal Prosecutors say Reggie Rucker, who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1975 to 1981 used money donated to two local organizations to pay his gambling debts and support his lifestyle.
Rucker served as the executive director of Amer-I-Can Cleveland, a non-profit based in Shaker Heights and as president of the Cleveland PeaceMakers Alliance, a coalition of organizations to stop violence in Cleveland.
Mike Tobin with the US Attorney's Office says Rucker used his reputation to get donations but then used the money for himself. “These are reputable organizations that give away tens of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars in Mr. Rucker's case, and now people are going to be skeptical and maybe less likely to donate,” he said.
Court documents allege from 2011 to 2015, Rucker withdrew money meant for Amer-I-Can and the Peacemakers Alliance. Tobin says Rucker took more than $150,000 for personal use. He's being charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to the FBI.
“The other victims are the good people who did work for the Peacemakers Alliance,” said Tobin. “Mr. Rucker would say 'Hey my guys are going hungry. I can't pay them,' which was true. It was true because he was misspending the money, not because he didn't have it.”
Rucker resigned from the Peacemakers Alliance two months ago. If convicted he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Update: On Feb. 24, 2016, Rucker pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to law enforcement. He'll be sentenced on May 23.