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Former Cleveland Brown Reggie Rucker charged for using charity donations for gambling debt

Former Cleveland Brown Reggie Rucker has been charged in federal court for using charity donations to pay off gambling debts and other personal expenses.

CLEVELAND -- Former Cleveland Brown Reginald J. "Reggie" Rucker has been charged in U.S. District Court for using charity donations to pay off gambling debts and other personal expenses.

His arraignment is set for 2 p.m. Feb. 24 before U.S. District Judge Dan Polster.

According to the U.S. Attorney, Rucker, 68, of Warrensville Heights, also used the money to make mortgage payments and purchase meals and entertainment. He also is charged with lying to the FBI during questioning.

Rucker has also been charged with one count of wire fraud.

Rucker served as executive director of Amer-I-Can Cleveland, a nonprofit organization located in Shaker Heights.

He also served as president of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance. Rucker solicited charitable contributions and deposited them into Amer-I-Can’s bank account from 2011 to Feb. 11, 2015, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Rucker wrote checks to himself and made withdrawals from the Amer-I-Can bank account in amounts and frequencies unrelated to work.

He told current and potential Amer-I-Can donors that the organization had an independent board of directors, which it did not, and told them he did not receive salary or funds.

Rucker also filed false documents with the IRS, significantly understating the amount of money he took from Amer-I-Can's account.

Rucker withdrew approximately $48,000 at casino ATMs in Tampa, Las Vegas and Cleveland, from the Amer-I-Can bank account between 2011 and 2015, including over $35,000 in 2014 alone.

He also paid multiple gambling debts he incurred at a Las Vegas casino totaling $65,000 using money donated to Amer-I-Can and CPA for charitable purposes, U.S. Attorneys say. Between January and September 2014, Rucker incurred $45,000 in gambling debt, writing himself several checks.

General Allegations