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Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

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

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.

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