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Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

In a case filed against a foreign national who had never set foot in Chicago (or the United States for that matter), a Ukrainian industrialist is facing charges related to a conspiracy to bribe an Indian official. Unfortunately, the bribe never happened and the deal fell apart. However, that has not stopped the U.S. from attempting to extradite the man to the U.S. to face charges related to a failed bribe. 

Dmitry Firtash is a well-known and well-connected Ukrainian natural gas magnate. The question perplexing many is why a Ukrainian citizen who has never been to the United States ended up getting charged in a failed attempt to bribe an Indian official. Attorneys for Firtash claim that there is no case to be made since the bribe never happened, and even if it did, the U.S. lacks personal jurisdiction over the case. 

What is going on?

A Trump associate was convicted in Manhattan after he enabled Paul Manafort to get $16 million in loans in exchange for an interview for a job with the Trump Administration. Stephen Calk was convicted of financial institution bribery and conspiracy. Calk insisted that he had broken no law nor done anything wrong.

Calk insisted that although he was given an interview for the job, he was not hired. Hence, there was no quid pro quo. However, Calk enabled Paul Manafort to get $16 million in loans related to his real estate ventures. This was money that would not have been offered to him had he used above-board channels. 

Testimony

While The Donald himself is not facing charges related to what authorities call an “audacious” tax fraud scheme, his company and his Chief Financial Officer are facing accusations that they failed to report over $1.7 million in earnings. It is unclear whether or not Trump will be charged, but investigators noted that he signed some of the questionable checks. Nonetheless, that comes short of proving fraud, which requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant knowingly deceived the federal government by hiding income streams. It is much more likely that the company’s CFO will take the fall for this.

As part of the scheme, the CFO paid himself and other executives off the books by utilizing lucrative fringe benefits, hence reducing their payroll taxes. Meanwhile, Trump is employing his usual strategy of demonizing the investigation as a “witch hunt” perpetrated by “radical democrats.”

Is This a Witch Hunt?

Chicago Alderman Carrie Austin and her chief of staff are facing federal criminal charges alleging bribery. According to the charges, Austin brokered a deal for a multi-unit real estate development contract. Federal authorities believe that the developer offered Austin home improvements to grease her wheels. Her chief of staff was also offered home improvements. Between them, they acquired new kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, bathroom tiling, new sump pumps, and a brand new HVAC system.

The federal government looks unkindly on businesses offering free services to elected officials, especially when that business went on to win a major contract that was granted with the help of the gift receiver. Austin is the third Chicago alderman to face indictment and the second charged this year. 

On what basis are these charges filed?

More defendants have been added to an ongoing prosecution in which several key stakeholders managed to tank a Chicago bank by embezzling millions in funds. The Washington Federal Bank for Savings failed in 2017 after the Office of the Comptroller determined that the bank was insolvent. Four new defendants have been added to the case for the theft of over $23 million in bank money. Do they face the same sorts of penalties as those who rob banks by force? No. In this article, we will discuss the charges they are likely to face.

Why Was the Bank Shut Down?

The bank was shut down after the Office of the Comptroller determined that the bank had $66 million in nonperforming loans. What is a nonperforming loan? Essentially, it is a loan in which the borrower has not made a payment in some time. Hence, the loan has been in default for a while. It is believed that the executives, including the CFO and treasurer, floated themselves major loans and transferred bank funds without the required documentation. Those who were on the receiving end of these funds are facing charges. Those who were in charge of overseeing the bank funds are also facing charges. Those who falsified bank records to ensure that the embezzlement was not discovered are also facing charges.

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.

The son-in-law of Joseph Barrios has pled not guilty to federal bribery charges in October. 41-year-old James Weiss is accused of bribing a state representative and senator for legislation that would benefit gaming and gambling operations in Cook County. 

Weiss will face eight counts of bribery, fraud, mail fraud, and lying to the FBI. The indictment also added charges to Luis Arroyo’s case which initially involved defrauding a federal program. Arroyo will face expanded charges of wire and mail fraud. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Sweepstakes Machines or Gray Machines

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

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