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Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

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?

didier-weemaels-36055-copy-300x251State Senator Tom Cullerton is now facing federal charges that embezzled funds from the Teamsters. Federal authorities are accusing Cullerton of collecting a nearly $190,000 salary plus bonuses for vehicle and cellphone usage. He is also said to have taken $64,000 in health and pension contributions while doing apparently nothing for the Teamsters union. 

Cullerton faced a grand jury indictment in August on one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union, one count of lying about a public health matter, and 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union. 

Cullerton is one of three elected officials to face federal charges amid a federal probe into corruption in Chicago and Illinois. Cullerton has pleaded not guilty to all charges and expressed eagerness to clear his good name. 

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200The Chicago City Colleges ex-vice-chancellor has been charged alongside seven others for multiple counts of wire fraud. According to federal authorities, Sharod Gordon awarded contracts to a number of companies that had ties to Gordon’s relatives and other associates. In some cases, police say, no work was ever performed. Gordon’s ex-wife and other associates were charged in the $350,000 scheme to defraud the government. Gordon is accused of awarding the contracts in exchange for kickbacks—a clear violation of basic ethics and corruption statutes

The current chancellor, Juan Salgado, said that new safeguards were to be put in place to avoid future problems. Salgado said the district will hire a procurement director to vet all contracts prior to them being offered. This includes requiring potential vendors to provide an economic disclosure statement and be in business for at least two years.

What was Gordon’s Role?

jay-wennington-N_Y88TWmGwA-unsplash-copy-300x200Attila Gyulai, the owner of a fine dining establishment in the West Loop, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Gyulai had returned to Chicago to face four counts of fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 25th of 2020. He and his wife owned and operated Embreya restaurant, a high-end Asian establishment. The restaurant opened in 2012 and received excellent reviews, but shut down only four years later. 

Examining the Plea Agreement

Gyulai’s plea agreement is interesting. Essentially, Gyulai admitted guilt to one allegation of wire fraud but also stated that he did not agree with all the details of the other allegations. The plea agreement essentially states that between 2014 and 2016, Gyulai defrauded minor shareholders in his restaurant and lied about how money generated by the restaurant was used. As part of the scheme, there was a nearly $15,000 money transfer out of the restaurant’s coffers.

2204277278_cbf43f4146_b-300x200Federal agents are accusing Illinois state representative, Luis Arroyo, of paying a $2,500/month in kickbacks to a state senator for his vote to support legislation involving video gambling sweepstakes that would benefit one of his lobbying clients. I know what you are thinking: That is illegal? Does that not happen every day in politics? Is that not how American politics works?

Yes and no. Suffice it to say, there is a correct way of going about it, but directly paying bribes to state senators is not it. 

Senator Not Named in Complaint

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201While charges of fraud are not exactly rare when it comes to political candidates, Chicago Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno stands accused of filing a false police report to defraud his insurance company. This is generally not the kind of fraud charges that politicians face. Nonetheless, it is still illegal.

Authorities have charged Moreno with fraud and obstruction of justice after reporting his Audi A6 stolen. After Moreno had reported the car stolen, his girlfriend, Liliya Hrabar was pulled over by police while driving it. Hrabar herself was charged with criminal trespass. During the interrogation, Hrabar produced text messages indicating that Moreno had willingly lent her the car one day prior to filing the police report. The charges against Hrabar were subsequently dropped and Moreno was charged with filing a false police report, obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct, and insurance fraud.

According to police, Moreno attempted to file a $30,000 claim with his insurance company to replace the car. The police contacted the insurance company and found that he had given differing accounts of the theft. After Hrabar was caught, Moreno claimed that he had loaned the vehicle to her but could not get it back. Moreno then claimed that because she was a single mom, he just wanted to help her out and that the road to Hell is often paved with good intentions. For that reason, he reported it stolen.

michael-d-beckwith-579345-unsplash-copy-300x253In another case of a high-profile defendant being able to buy his way out of felony charges, Aaron Schock has been offered a plea in which the prosecution will drop all the corruption charges against him if he pays the IRS tens of thousands of dollars and repays his campaign committees. Schock came under fire when he spent what seemed like exorbitant amounts of money redecorating his office in the style of Downton Abbey—a show he must really, really like. He was indicted on two dozen counts of fraud and falsification of election commission filings. He faced up to 20 years in prison.

The plea, which was offered by federal prosecutors, allows them to drop the charges against Schock if he repays the IRS within six months, but also allows them to pursue charges if he does not repay the $68,000 that he owes. Schock failed to report earnings on his income taxes and hence became the target of the IRS. Schock was accused of selling world series and super bowl tickets for $42,000 in profit and misreporting mileage that was a part of his campaigning.

Shots Fired

william-stitt-162589-unsplash-copy-300x200White-collar crime may consist of various charges at both the state and federal level. The stereotype of an individual engaging in white collar crime may be the high-level corporate executive in a tailored suit who sacrifices the future of his company for personal gain. But a crime of this nature could be perpetrated by anyone in the office, from a mailroom clerk all the way up to the C-suite.

Additionally, a white-collar crime does not have to be committed by a person in a corporation or even someone employed. The criminal may be a charming neighbor who cons an individual out of his or her retirement savings. Offenses like credit card theft or counterfeiting do not typically involve violence, but they do have a serious impact on individuals, society, and the economy.

A white-collar criminal defense attorney can provide a level of protection against the severity of the penalties associated with these types of charges.

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