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Articles Posted in Fraud

The federal government considers fraud of public funds earmarked from natural disaster relief programs a particularly black-hearted crime. A Chicago tax preparer is facing charges that he helped his clients obtain millions in coronavirus relief aid under The CARES Act. While helping your clients secure loans is not in itself a federal crime, helping them secure loans under false pretenses is. Hadi Isbaih is charged with four counts of wire fraud. An indictment returned recently confirmed the charges. 

The government reinforced its commitment to prosecute those who steal from public coffers and deprive those who need the money of much-needed relief. 

Evaluating the Accusations

Annazette Collins has been charged with failing to report income and underreporting income after a grand jury decided to indict her just recently. Collins is facing a five-count indictment related to her political consulting firm. The federal government accused Collins of willfully attempting to hide income streams for the purpose of avoiding taxes

The charges stem from a bribery probe involving embattled former Congressman Michael Madigan. Collins is the latest collateral damage in the corruption probe that is still ongoing. Collins left office in 2013 as a Democrat. She was then hired by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) after her retirement. An attorney for Collins characterized the charges as a “blatant attempt to squeeze Collins” for information concerning the ComEd case. That is probably true. It is unlikely that Collins would have faced these charges (at least now) if there was not a more important case that might involve her.

Collins is not the only former Congressperson facing charges related to ComEd. Recently, Ed Acevedo and his three sons pleaded not guilty in relation to similar charges. If convicted, Collins could spend three years behind bars.

For as many government entitlement programs as there are, there are a number of ways to commit fraud. People commit fraud against the unemployment program, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, social security, and more. Aldermen commit fraud against government initiatives and then funnel the money to their own personal coffers. Now, a Chicago man is facing charges that he conspired with a post office employee to steal economic relief checks from the mail and cash them. 

Akeem Kosoko, 26, is facing one count of conspiracy to steal mail and government funds, three counts of embezzlement of government property, and three counts of receipt of stolen mail. The indictment says that Kosoko conspired with his brother, who was a postal worker, who is also facing a conspiracy charge. The defendants are facing federal charges

Theft of Government Funds

A Chicago-area businessman has been indicted on federal charges for making fraudulent claims to the government in order to bilk COVID relief money from the fund. Carlos Smith, 56, of Park Forest, Illinois is charged with fraudulently obtaining $420,000 in small business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). Both programs were created under the CARES Act. Smith has been charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, and one count of money laundering.

The Alleged Fraud

Federal investigators say that Smith applied for a $270,000 loan from the PPP for his company CLS Financial. In the loan application documents, Smith indicated that his company had 61 employees and an average monthly payroll of $108,000. But the company had no employees at all, let alone payroll. Smith also lied about having been convicted of a felony in the past. 

This is America, where everyone has a job and everyone has a dream. The idea is to work the job until you can make the dream come true. That happened for one Illinois woman, but federal prosecutors say that the money she used to fund her dream was embezzled from her place of employment. She is now facing federal charges for the theft of $2.3 million. 

72-year-old Mildred Crowley is accused of embezzling money from her employer to fund her horse farm. She is not the first to be charged with such a crime. In fact, horse farming is rife with companies that have funded their coffers on the ill-gotten gains of fraud and theft. 

Criminal Enterprises: Horse Breeding and Horse Farms

Chicago rapper G Herbo has been charged in Massachusetts for using stolen identities to make illegal purchases. Purchases included trips on personal jets and designer puppies, according to the complaint. While rappers are not known for their white-collar prosecutions, identity theft is a major business in the criminal underworld. The 25-year-old Herbert Wright III is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and aggravated identity theft. The following will take a look at what prosecutions for these crimes look like.

Who is G Herbo?

G Herbo was recently on The Tonight Show. He grew up in the South Side of Chicago, a neighborhood known as “Terror Town.” His frank lyrics about growing up in Chicago catapulted G Herbo into the forefront of the rap world. Makes you wonder why a guy like that would need to steal identities to fund his purchases of designer puppies and personal jet rides.

Crystal Lundberg told a federal judge that getting charged with wire fraud had changed her life for the better. She said that she found legitimate employment and was growing as a person. But federal authorities have charged Lundberg in another scheme to defraud. This time, the victim was the federal government that disbursed $150,000 in loans to Lundberg’s business to keep her payroll going. 

Federal prosecutors now say Lundberg took the loans that were earmarked for COVID relief and spent the money on vacations, legal bills, and other personal expenditures while simultaneously delaying her surrender date to the Bureau of Prisons.

Other problems for Lundberg include Facebook posts she made indicating that her plan was to spend the federal relief money until the feds came and arrested her. Obviously, federal authorities believe that Lundberg wanted one last hurrah before serving her prison sentence. 

A former Chicago public school staffer has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI concerning the divulging of information related to a custodial contract to one of the bidders. Pedro Soto is accused of leaking bid information to one of the bidders and then lying about the fact to the FBI.

Soto resigned from his position as one of Janice Jackson’s top aides after it was discovered that he leaked deliberations concerning the $1 billion contract to one of the bidders in exchange for “various benefits.” The prosecution was the cherry on top of an investigation into Alderman Daniel Solis who was recorded trading favors on wiretapped conversations. Soto and Solis are linked together by a political operative known as “Individual B” who helped broker deals between the men. This individual has not been charged with any crime and thus their identity remains a secret.

Soto Reaches a Plea Deal

A Chicago rabbi is facing federal charges alleging that he defrauded at least 75 people out of a reported $23 million. One of the people, federal officials noted, was a survivor of the holocaust. The fraud involved the purchasing of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

Zvi Feiner will face charges related to 10 counts of wire fraud, federal officials say. 

The Indictment

The man whose videotaped murder of a defenseless detainee resulted in several months’ worth of protests is now facing felony tax evasion charges. Chauvin will now face charges of second-degree murder and multiple felony counts of tax evasion

Chauvin and his wife are accused of hiding income streams on their taxes including more than $95,000 in income from his side job providing security. 

Is His Wife Also Guilty?

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