COVID-19 Update: We Are Open 24/7 to Service Current and New Clients.

Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

A man has been sentenced to 90 months in federal prison after eight years as a fugitive in Utah. The man was charged in connection with the theft of over $2.2 million from his employer when he worked as a bookkeeper. The defendant was responsible for paying invoices to vendors, but fabricated duplicate invoices for work already paid and diverted the money into his own account. In 2012, he was caught and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion, but he fled the police while on house arrest. He was caught eight years later and will now serve eight years in federal prison.

The Crime of Embezzlement

What is embezzlement specifically? Well, you can steal money from anyone, but when you embezzle, you steal from someone with whom you have a duty of service, it is considered embezzlement. Companies and governments can be the victim of embezzlement. Employees and actors who operate on behalf of governments can be the perpetrators of embezzlement. Nonetheless, there is no “crime of embezzlement” under federal law. Instead, you have wire fraud.

She was the “first African-American woman” to hold the title of Director of Special Investigations for the State of Illinois. She was the only woman to ever hold the position. She was the only African-American to ever hold the position. She was the only person ever to have held the position, largely because the position did not exist. It was invented by the only person ever to have held it. But the spectacle of her having received awards and commendation for the position was videotaped for all to see. The defendant had hired the participants to act in these ceremonies including individuals who posed as judges. According to the participants, they were never paid. Therein lies the fraud. The fraudster told the actors that judges were not available for her swearing-in ceremony which is why she required paid actors. The theft of services adds up to over $21,000.

In addition, the defendant coaxed others into advancing her money under false pretenses; money she had no intention of ever paying back. She was also charged with writing fake checks to landlords, letting the checks bounce, and then forcing the landlords to evict her when she refused to pay. She was able to sustain housing like this for an extended period of time.

She has since pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by deception and one count of impersonating a state employee. The prosecution has agreed to recommend a five-year sentence, but the defendant’s actual sentence will be up to the court.

Most folks do not understand how our economic system really works. What is a bank? What is a security? What is a corporation? Folks who have general ideas about what the concepts mean tend to be misinformed. As an example, most folks believe that banks use deposits to issue loans. They do not. Banks can fabricate loans ex-nihilo so long as they pay interest on the loans they create. Once the loan has been issued, the bank issues a deposit to the borrower and creates a liability in its own ledger. If all goes well, the bank makes money because the interest paid by the borrower is greater than that charged by the Federal Reserve. 

So, what if I created a bank just to issue worthless loans to my pals? Well, then you end up in prison. The system is actually quite easy to abuse, but the thing you have to understand is that they will catch up with you eventually. In this case, the bank was closed after accruing $66 million in non-performing loans issued to bank insiders. The government, of course, believes that they used the bank apparatus to fabricate money they had no intention of ever repaying. 

The charges

Everyone has heard of insider trading, but what is it really? Essentially, as an “insider,” you are not allowed to make beneficial trades unfairly. To prove insider trading, the federal government must show that the information was embargoed or confidential prior to the execution of the trade.

In this case, a Chicago physician is being accused of purchasing shares of a California-based biotech company that recently announced positive results of a new cancer treatment. The physician is accused of making the trade before the company announced the results publicly. Hence, insider trading. 

According to federal prosecutors, the defendant used his position to acquire confidential information that was embargoed for public disclosure. He then used that information to make a trade prior to the announcement of a major success and is now accused of insider trading. Federal prosecutors accuse the doctor of making $134,000 off the illegal trade, purchasing over 8,000 shares and then selling them shortly after the announcement. 

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. 

Contact Information