Ex-player’s NFL pension garnished to repay charity theft

FILE - This May 29, 2013, file photo shows former NFL wide receiver Reggie Rucker after a news conference for Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown in Cleveland. A federal judge sentenced Rucker on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, to 21 months in prison and ordered him to pay $110,000 in restitution, after he was accused of stealing over $100,000 from two charities to pay gambling debts and personal expenses and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and false statements. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Reggie Rucker will have nearly $400 a month garnished from his NFL pension payments after stealing from his nonviolence nonprofit groups.

Rucker was sentenced last year to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $110,000 for using money from two charities to pay gambling debts and personal expenses. Cleveland.com reports the garnishments recently approved by a judge are Rucker’s first meaningful payments to the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance and other groups.

His attorney has said the 69-year-old intends to pay restitution using money he might get from a class-action settlement between the NFL and athletes who suffered concussions. That claims process might take years.

His attorney blamed Rucker’s actions on a gambling addiction caused by football-related brain injuries. Prosecutors scoffed at that argument.

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