Reggie Rucker Will Serve About Two Years in Prison For Embezzling Nonprofit Funds

[image-1]Reggie Rucker will likely serve 21-27 months in prison for embezzling money from two local nonprofits. Rucker pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Rucker, the former Cleveland Browns wide receiver, used the bank accounts of his violence-interruption organizations to pay for his mortgage, meals, entertainment and travel expenses between 2011-2015. A U.S. Attorney's Office report said he specifically sought funding from local foundations to pay off big gambling debts as well.

Rucker entered into a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office Wednesday and will be sentenced on May 23. reports that he won't be in custody while he awaits his sentencing. 

Last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that Rucker was being charged with one count each of wire fraud and making false statements to law enforcement. He was characterized by acting U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon, in a statement, as having used the account of his local charities as a personal ATM.

Rucker was in charge of both the nonprofit Amer-I-Can Cleveland and the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, which employed "violence interrupters" to "work the streets," especially during moments of citywide unrest.   

But the donations Rucker solicited were largely used to fund his own lifestyle, not to pay his staff of violence interrupters. On several occasions, Rucker wrote himself checks shortly after receiving foundation support and immediately forwarded that money to Las Vegas casinos, where he'd racked up excessive debts.

In January, 2013; January, 2014; and September, 2014; Rucker incurred debts of $20,000, $25,000 and $20,000, respectively, all of which he paid with foundation grants.

In total, Rucker withdrew more than $500,000 from the Amer-I-Can account (which also housed the Peacemakers' funds) between 2011 and February 2015, when he was questioned by federal investigators.