Financial advisor sentenced to 7 years for defrauding former Indianapolis Colts player

Cory Redding

A financial advisor who bilked former Indianapolis Colts player Cory Redding out of millions of dollars learned his punishment this week.

Kenneth Ray Cleveland, 64, Agoura Hilla, California, was sentenced to 7 years after pleading guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges.

Cleveland worked as Redding’s financial advisor for a decade, beginning not long after Redding started his NFL career. Redding wanted to secure his financial future and avoid falling victim to the all-too-common story of a pro athlete who lost it all.

Cleveland was recommended to Redding through a college professor. He billed himself as an investing guru and advised a simple strategy that appealed to Redding: put your money in conservative investments, live off the interest, and the principal will be there for you when you retire.

Redding invested millions of dollars over the years, with Cleveland telling him that his investments were doing well. He gave Redding money when he needed it and periodically paid “interest” to the NFL player.

By the end of the 2014 season, when Redding was ready to retire, Cleveland said he’d made millions through the investments.

It was all a sham. Redding’s money was gone. Starting in 2007, Cleveland was spending Redding’s money himself on credit cards, mortgages, office rent, employee payroll, legal expenses, utilities, health care, cash withdrawals, daily personal and business purchases, and even payments to his mother, sister, and daughter.

He also used the money to pay “interest” to other “investors” in what investigators described as a classic Ponzi scheme.

Redding was unaware of the deceit for too long. During numerous meetings and in text messages, Cleveland held to the line that Redding’s money was being wisely invested and getting good returns. Even when Cleveland was prosecuted for another scheme in California, he tried to convince Redding that his money was safe.

By that point, Redding knew better.

Still, he was out of $4.7 million. He didn’t retire in 2014 with the Colts and instead played an additional season for the Arizona Cardinals to recoup some of his losses.