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Articles Posted in Theft

Many of those who engaged in the violent protest that ended the life of one D.C. officer and several protesters are facing federal charges right now. Their faces and names are appearing all over social media and their identities are being revealed. In cases in which the federal government refuses to file charges, the individuals are being held accountable by the companies for which they work. One Chicago-area CEO discovered this the hard way.

Bradley Rukstales is one of the protesters who are facing federal charges stemming from the Capitol riot. He has also lost his job as CEO of the tech company Cogensia. A spokesperson for the company said Rukstales was terminated on Friday, effective immediately. The Vice President and COO of the company will take over Rukstales’ duties.

The company issued a statement that said that Rukstales’ actions were not consistent with the core values of the company. Rukstales is also facing federal charges for unlawful entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. 

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

Amid the George Floyd and Brianna Taylor protests, social unrest plagued America’s largest cities. Chicago was no exception. While some of these protests were going on, others took the opportunity to engage in burglary, theft, and destruction of property. Droves of people went block after block, looting one store after another. Four months after, detectives are still going over hour after hour of surveillance footage to identify individuals against whom they can file charges.

The police force is asking for tips on identifying suspects who were seen on camera looting Chicago stores. At the writing of this article, there have been over 1,300 tips based on over 100 clips of footage excavated from security feeds. Likewise, they have been monitoring online retail platforms like Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and Facebook marketplace to determine if any of the stolen merchandise was placed for sale online. 

The effort has resulted in the arrests of over 100 people. Most are felony charges related to theft, looting, destruction of property, fencing stolen goods, and weapons charges.

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. 

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