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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 26, 2017

Financial advisor faces federal fraud charges

California man allegedly defrauded former Indianapolis Colts player out of over $4.5 million

PRESS RELEASE

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced the indictment of Kenneth Ray Cleveland, 63, of Agoura Hills, California, in connection with an alleged investment fraud scheme. The indictment charges Cleveland with seven counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering and alleges that Cleveland, acting as a financial advisor, stole over $4.5 million from his client, a former NFL player who played several years for the Indianapolis Colts.

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

The indictment alleges that Cleveland worked as the victim’s financial advisor for years, starting just after the victim entered the NFL after college. Cleveland allegedly promised to invest his money in conservative investments that would yield a significant amount of “interest” every month without ever depleting the principal. Over nearly 10 years, the victim provided millions of dollars to Cleveland to invest on his behalf.

Instead of investing the money, however, Cleveland allegedly spent it. According to the indictment, he used over $2 million as part of a Ponzi scheme to pay fictitious investment returns to his other clients. He also spent over $2 million more on personal expenses, such as his home mortgage, credit card bills, and payments to family members.

Throughout the alleged scheme, Cleveland repeatedly reassured the victim, both in writing and in person, that his investments were safe and performing well. The indictment alleges that Cleveland routinely provided the victim with false information regarding his purported “investments,” including fictitious financial statements. Cleveland also allegedly paid the victim “interest” using the victim’s own money in an effort to continue to gain the victim’s trust and his money. Cleveland’s alleged scheme ended, however, when the victim began to ask for his money back and Cleveland, having spent the money, could not come up with it.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, who is prosecuting the case for the government, said that the charges carry maximum sentences of between 10 and 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.

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Updated May 26, 2017