The former investment bank analyst who enlisted onetime Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks in a million-dollar insider trading scheme pleaded guilty on Wednesday to securities fraud.
Damilare Sonoiki, 27, a Harvard-educated Wall Street analyst turned sitcom writer, admitted feeding Kendricks confidential financial information between 2014 and 2015 about pending mega-deals that sent stock prices soaring. In the end, Kendricks profited about $1.2 million and paid off Sonoiki with $10,000 and access to exclusive events.
Kendricks, who spent six seasons with the Eagles before being released in the spring, pleaded guilty to similar charges on Sept. 6.
At the hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter asked Sonoiki why he was pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
"Because I guess I'm guilty," he said.
"You guess?" Pratter asked.
"No, because I'm guilty."
According to court documents, he and Kendricks met at a party not long after Sonoiki joined Goldman Sachs' technology, media, and telecommunications division in July 2013, a year or so after Kendricks had joined the Eagles.
In 2014 and 2015, Sonoiki would pass Kendricks confidential information about pending acquisition deals his group was involved with. In exchange, Kendricks paid Sonoiki cash and gifts, including tickets to NFL games. invitations to nightclub promotions, and, in one instance, the set of a music video featuring pop star Teyana Taylor.
A Nigerian immigrant who was raised in southwest Houston, Sonoiki made his way to Woodberry Forest School, a Virginia boarding school, through the financial and educational support program A Better Chance, he told Harvard University graduates in a 2013 speech.
Sonoiki studied economics at Harvard, though he admitted in court Wednesday that he never graduated or earned a Harvard degree, as previously was reported.
Sonoiki left the financial sector in 2015 — he once claimed he only pursued a job there because he sought financial stability — to pursue his dream of writing comedy. He landed a TV writing role with ABC's Black-ish for the 2015-16 season. He began working as a writer for Fox's The Simpsons earlier this year and said in court that he remains employed with the network.
Sonoiki, a Los Angeles resident, remained free on $100,000 bail. A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 11. His lawyer, Mark Wilson of the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia, said that federal guidelines suggest a sentence between 33 and 41 months in prison, but that the decision will fall to the judge.
Kendricks, who was signed by the Seattle Seahawks last week, is scheduled to be sentenced in January.