Former NHL player and 1995 number one draft pick Bryan Berard was one of several people who gave emotional victim impact statements in Long Island federal court last Monday, when financial advisor Phil Kenner was sentenced to 17 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from Berard and over a dozen other former professional hockey players and Long Island citizens in an elaborate investment scheme.
“I guess he got what was coming,” Berard told Newsday outside the Alfonse M. D’Amato United States Courthouse in Central Islip. “Just a lot of mixed emotions. He stole a lot of money from people. Ruined people’s lives.”
Kenner, 51, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was a co-defendant in the federal case with his business partner, Tommy Constantine, a one-time aspiring race car driver. A jury convicted the two men in July 2015 of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Kenner had remained jailed since his 2013 arrest.
The case is a jarring cautionary tale for professional athletes who — like Berard’s case — seek business advisors to handle their millions and personal finances. According to federal prosecutors, Kenner and Constantine operated three separate schemes, and lured numerous NHL players — including Berard, Michael Peca, Darryl Sydor and Bill Ranford — to invest their retirement funds and life savings into a Hawaii real estate venture and a start-up business in Arizona.
Instead, Kenner and Constantine used the millions for their own personal gain. In one scheme, according to prosecutors, Kenner was able to convince Berard, Peca and others to give $100,000 each toward a Hawaii land development project. Kenner