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Former Cleveland Brown Reggie Rucker Accused of Stealing from his Charities

Reggie Rucker

Former Cleveland Brown Reggie Rucker was charged in federal court today -- accused of using hundreds-of-thousands of dollars from his charities --  Amer-I-Can and the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance -- to settle gambling debts, make house payments and for meals.

Rucker is facing one charge each of wire fraud and lying to the FBI about the alleged misuse of the funds. The federal charges say he used his celebrity and status in the community to con local foundations and citizens into donating to his organizations. It alleges that between 2011 and early last year ,Rucker withdrew nearly $50,000 from the nonprofit organizations for personal use.

Rucker collected millions of dollars from foundations, friends and even law enforcement.

Dean Valore specialized in public corruption cases when he was with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland. He explains the wire fraud charge. 

“Any sort of electronic medium, or when funds are transferred electronically with a criminal or fraudulent purpose, and when the bank of financial institution holding or maneuvering those funds is a federally insured institution under the FDIC, then the federal government has jurisdiction.”

The investigation into Rucker’s use of charitable funds became public last summer. At the time he said he was cooperating and indicated that he may have been set-up. The Boys and Girls Club took over the Peacemakers Alliance in December.

Rucker's arraignment is set for next Wednesday.