- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A money manager stole more than $4.5 million over nearly a decade from an unnamed former NFL player who played several years for the Indianapolis Colts, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Kenneth Ray Cleveland, 63, of Agoura Hills, California, was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering in the investment fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said.

Cleveland was the football player’s financial adviser starting when the player entered the NFL after college, prosecutors said, and the player provided Cleveland with millions of dollars to invest. Cleveland used $2 million of the money he received from the player to pay other clients in a Ponzi scheme and spent another $2 million on personal expenses, prosecutors said. Those included his home mortgage, credit card bills, and payments to family members.

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

Cleveland’s phone listing in California was disconnected and he couldn’t be reached for comment. He faces maximum sentences of 10 to 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Prosecutors said Cleveland repeatedly reassured the player that his investments were safe and performing well. He gave the player fictitious financial statements and paid him interest using the player’s own money, prosecutors said. The scheme was discovered when the player started asking for his money back and Cleveland couldn’t provide the funds because he spent them, authorities said.

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