Former Eagle Mychal Kendricks has been charged with an alleged $1.2 million insider trading scheme alongside Damilare Sonoiki, a TV writer known for ABC's Black-ish who authorities say helped facilitate several past illegal stock trades.
Federal authorities announced the charges against Kendricks and Sonoiki Wednesday morning in Center City, saying that insider trading "undermines the public's faith in our markets." Kendricks, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns, is expected to plead guilty to the charges.
Sonoiki, 27, attended Harvard University with a concentration in economics, gave the oration for the graduating class in 2013. Public records show that Sonoiki, also worked as a Goldman Sachs investment banking analyst following college. A southwest Houston native and the son of Nigerian immigrants, Sonoiki attended a boarding school in Virginia before enrolling in Harvard, where he wrote for the National Lampoon and the Harvard Crimson. He left Goldman Sachs in 2015 to pursue a career in Hollywood as a writer and producer.
Charges against him stem back to four stock trades Sonoiki allegedly made for Kendricks based on insider information from 2013 to 2015. Authorities filed charges against the writer after the Securities Exchange Commission was able to link trades in Kendricks' account to an IP address with which Sonoiki was affiliated.
Publicly, Sonoiki is known as a television writer, most notably for his work on ABC's Black-ish in recent years. Between 2015 and 2016, Sonoiki was a staff writer for the second season of the critically lauded show, and has sole writing credit for one episode — "Super Rich Kids" — toward the end of his run, according to IMDB. The episode features dad Dre's (Anthony Anderson) insecurities about his son Junior's (Marcus Scribner) new wealthy friends.
Sonoiki is no longer is affiliated with the network, and worked only on the series for its 2015/16 season.
Sonoiki is also behind the 2016 viral video, "African Booty Scratcher," a trailer for a comedy series that follows a family of Nigerian immigrants and their son, Ayo, as they adjust to life in America. It currently has 1.2 million views on YouTube. Sonoiki successfully funded a pilot for the web series that year with a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $30,000. The pilot, titled African Time, was released last June. Only one episode was completed.
Sonoiki also made short films, including 2017's Let's Just Be Friends and 2014's Trapped the Movie.
Authorities allege that Kendricks compensated Sonoiki with items like Eagles tickets and cash bribes, as well as an arrangement for Sonoiki to meet VH1 reality TV star Teyana Taylor, of the network's Teyana and Iman, which Taylor appears in alongside husband and NBA player Iman Shumpert.
"I sincerely apologize to my coaches, the owners, and my teammates on the Eagles and the Browns, the NFL, and the magnificent fans to whom I owe my career," Kendricks said in a statement of the charges. "You all deserve better, and I will work my hardest to re-earn your trust and respect, serve as an advocate to educate others, and show you that I will never be involved in anything like this again."