Rucker is alleged to have taken money from a charitable fund to settle gambling debts and other personal expenses. He had been under investigation for the alleged fraud since at least early last year.
"Reggie Rucker misused his celebrity and position in the community to dupe some of our most important local foundations and generous citizens," U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon said, per Danser. "He stole from the very violence interrupters he so publically claimed to support."
The 68-year-old served as executive director of the Amer-I-Can charity. Using the charity's bank account, he allegedly helped pay his mortgage in addition to paying for meals, groceries, travel expenses and dry cleaning. He is also accused of withdrawing more than $48,000 from casinos in Cleveland, Las Vegas and Tampa, Florida, and in total, paying roughly $65,000 in gambling debts from the Amer-I-Can fund.
Authorities charged Rucker with taking nearly $500,000 from the charity between 2011 and February 2015.
Rucker played 12 years in the NFL from 1970 to 1981, spending time with four teams. The bulk of his career came with the Cleveland Browns. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, his 310 receptions are eighth in franchise history, while his 4,953 yards yards are good for seventh.