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Articles Posted in Theft

Akeem Kosoko and his brother, who worked as a mailman, had been stealing money from the mail for months before the Trump administration announced it would be sending $1,200 checks to every American. Kosoko, who called the stimulus funds “Trump checks,” knew that this would be a great time to cash in. The federal government, however, caught up with them when they tried to sell several Trump checks for a reported $5,000. Now, the brothers are facing charges of conspiring to steal U.S. mail and stealing government funds.

Kosoko was believed to be among several post office employees who would steal tax refunds, social security checks, and more from the U.S. postal system. The checks would then be exchanged for cash to those who had the ability to anonymously cash them. 

The Anatomy of a Fraud

24-year-old Darius Young will face charges related to a two-day crime spree during which he held up a UPS driver in broad daylight. Young will face one count of armed robbery, which will be prosecuted under the federal Hobbs Act. 

The UPS driver says that he was approached from behind when a man ordered him to the ground. The man held the gun on him while two of his buddies rifled through the truck and removed packages. They sped off together in a “light-colored” vehicle.

During the robbery, however, a witness who was parking his car noticed the UPS driver face-down on the ground while several men were removing packages from the truck. The witness was able to record some of the robbery on his phone and emailed the evidence to Oak Park police. 

The Chicago District Attorney’s Office will file charges against 42 people, they announced recently, but there is concern that several individuals who had no criminal record prior will now have enhanced felonies on their record.

One such individual is Steven Yates. Police say that they caught Yates handing out jewelry from a downtown store. When they attempted to apprehend him, he tried to escape through the back, only to find more cops. He turned around and attempted to barrel out of the front of the store when he ran into police commander Jill Stevens. Stevens was knocked to the ground. 

Yates will face felony charges for looting, burglary, and aggravated battery on a police officer. 

Three men are facing federal charges after using a crowbar to break into a Bank of America ATM. These are among the latest charges levied against Chicagoans during the several days of civil unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd. Chyenne Simpson, Rickie Foy and Pierre Harvey have each been charged with one count of attempted bank theft. 

The three were among a larger group of people who were caught on the bank’s security footage attempting to use various tools to crack open the ATM located in the vestibule outside of the bank. While the ATM contained at least $300,000 worth of cash, authorities report that none of the money was actually stolen. 

The group scattered once officers arrived, but they were able to detain the three men near the scene of the heist. The men denied being part of the attempted robbery of the ATM. 

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162Two Chicago police officers, Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado, are facing federal charges for obstruction of justice, lying on affidavits, and lying to the FBI. The two allegedly falsified information on search warrant petitions to judges to execute no-knock warrants in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. They are also accused of stealing drugs and money recovered from the raids. 

In early 2018, the FBI set Elizondo and Salgado up. They had stolen what they believed was drug money from a vehicle that the FBI towed away. Later that day, the FBI raided Salgado’s home. Both men have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges. The most serious charge against the men carries at 20-year sentence.

Search Warrants at the Heart of This Trial 

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx will decide whether or not to press charges against employees at a Lincoln Park nursing home who swindled a resident with dementia out of $700,000. Public Guardian Charles Golbert took custody of 98-year-old Grace Watanabe removing her from the care of Symphony Residences.

Watanabe was removed in 2018 after her bank noticed a series of unusual withdrawals and alerted authorities. Currently, there is a civil action against the Nursing Home naming individual staff members who attempted to drain the woman’s bank account dry. Those close to the woman, however, are hoping that criminal charges are filed against those who directly perpetrated the theft. Criminal charges would take precedence over civil charges and that case would be prosecuted first. If the defendants in the criminal case lose in court, it severely limits their ability to defend themselves in civil court.

Golbert Asks for Criminal Charges Against Five Employees

robert-hickerson-38585-copy-200x300Yet another Chicago Alderman is headed to prison after being handed a one-year sentence for defrauding a personal charity. According to prosecutors, Willie Cochran used his charitable fund to pay for gambling trips, expensive meals, and accessories for his Mercedes. Cochran pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which ended his City Council position. 

Cochran’s lawyers hoped to secure probation for their client with six months of house arrest. Instead, Cochran will spend the next year behind bars. 

Since 1972, 30 Chicago Aldermen have been convicted of crimes and several more have been charged. Cochrane, who was charged by federal authorities, will spend the next year in federal prison along with several other Chicago Aldermen who were convicted in a federal sting aimed at uprooting corruption in the Chicago City Council. These include “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak and William Beavers who were both convicted after leaving the City Council and most recently, Edward Burke who is accused of using his position to force prospective developers to use his tax law firm to secure building permits. Another Alderman, Carrie Austin, is under investigation for the suspicious purchase and construction of a Chicago home. 

ales-nesetril-1070103-unsplash-copy-300x199A teenager from Rosemont is facing multiple felony charges for credit card theft.

18-year-old Salvador Nunez was charged with 30 felonies for using stolen credits card at various northwest suburban Rosemont locations. Rosemont police stated Nunez was charged with 15 Class 3 felonies for stealing someone’s identity and an additional 15 for the unlawful use of a credit card.

The most serious offense in the category of criminal charges is a felony. Felonious acts also carry with them the most severe penalties. The degree of the punishment depends on the class of the felony committed. According to Illinois law, they range from the least serious, a Class 4, to the most serious, a Class X.

boris-debusscher-485536-copy-207x300Facing an arrest and charges of theft in Chicago is never an easy situation. Whether this is the first time you have been arrested or you have gone through this before, it never gets easier. You might have to face a different judge or have your case handled by a different prosecutor. Either way, there are defenses available to you to fight the theft charges so you do not simply have to give up your freedom and spend time in jail.

Right of Ownership

One of the most commonly used defenses to theft charges is right of ownership. You can not simply tell the judge that you thought the item belonged to you and hope that this will work in your favor. You will need to provide some sort of evidence that proves it makes sense that you would believe the item you took belonged to you. This can be an invoice, receipt, warranty, owner’s manual, or any other piece of evidence that proves you either own the property or that you believed you owned the property.

raban-haaijk-118657-copy-225x300It is no secret that the number of carjackings is on the rise in Chicago. Along with this increase comes an increase in juvenile arrests. Younger people are participating in this crime at alarming rates. In 2016, only 35% of carjackings were attributed to juveniles; now, it is 60%. It is important to note that this statistic could be skewed, as less than 10% of carjackings end in arrest. Still, this rise in juvenile crime is a cause for concern for many citizens. There is no shortage of debate on how this issue should be handled.

Current law tends to favor giving the juvenile a second chance. As of 2016, no minor can be tried as an adult for carjacking in Chicago. Additionally, many minors receive lesser charges, including in instances of car theft. Car theft differs from carjacking based on the threat to the driver. If you are charged with carjacking, that means you either physically harmed a driver or made the driver fear for his or her life. Because of this, a carjacking charge typically accompanies a harsher sentence. Being aware that many want this current law changed is important. The increase in crime is not helping defuse the situation, either.

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