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Articles Tagged with fraud

Closing arguments are currently underway in a trial against a USC water polo coach. The coach is accused of faking test scores and inventing athletic achievements including using his role as a water polo coach to help rich applicants secure spots at the exclusive college. 

According to prosecutors, wealthy parents paid over $200,000 so that the coach could establish their children as water polo recruits to gain acceptance. Attorneys for the defendant claim that their client never took a bribe. His attorneys claim that some of the money was deposited into the water polo team’s coffers with the rest of it being scholarship money awarded by a non-profit for the coach’s children. However, the non-profit organizer is a close crony of the coach and is considered the mastermind behind the bribery scheme which targeted several schools.

60 people have been charged in the scheme to help rich people get their low-performing children into exclusive schools. The water polo coach is the only one to fight the charges at trial. The investigation took down Lori Laughlin of Full House fame and other notable celebrities. 

Larry Ray is going to prison, perhaps for life, after a New York jury convicted him on 15 counts all related to the exploitation and extortion of his daughter’s friends. Ray managed to convince his daughter to allow him to move into the dorms shortly after he was released from prison on a securities fraud conviction. 

Ray managed to convince one victim that she had poisoned him and owed him reparations. The woman paid between $10,000 and $50,000 per week to make amends, at one point even performing sex work to make payments. Another woman revealed that her life was turned upside down when she met Ray. She was on track to become a medical doctor when she became romantically involved with him. He would often ask her to have sex with other men while he videotaped it. 

The entire scheme appears to have hinged on Ray using a Svengali-like ability to manipulate those around him. Ray was able to convince several students that they had poisoned him after he agreed to let them stay at his apartment. To make amends, they did as Ray asked, including giving him a lot of money, performing yard work, and more.

Federal authorities have announced the arrest of two individuals who have been accused of embezzling vaccine cards from their place of employment for sale elsewhere. The first defendant is a registered nurse who stole vaccine cards from her employer at the VA Hospital. Another defendant is facing charges that he purchased counterfeit vaccine cards and attempted to sell them on Facebook. 

The nurse is facing charges of theft of government property and embezzlement related to a health care benefit program. The Facebook guy is facing charges for trafficking in counterfeit goods and fraud related to official government documents. The charges have been filed and prosecuted by the U.S. State Attorney’s office meaning that both defendants will face federal charges for their role in distributing fraudulent vaccine cards. 

The government does not take kindly to those defrauding the system. They contend such efforts place everyone at risk and undermine the efforts of health officials.

A Chicago woman is facing federal fraud charges after posing as the relative of young gun violence victims. In one case, she posed as the relative of a 7-year-old boy who was fatally shot in 2015. The 50-year-old woman posed as the boy’s aunt when she attempted to acquire the boy’s death certificate in 2019 and then filed a fraudulent tax return in the dead boy’s name. 

The same defendant was given an 11-year sentence on similar charges of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. The woman was on supervised release when she was arrested for this crime, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors described the woman as a career con-artist who used her considerable innate abilities to steal from others as opposed to doing something useful to society. The fraud was discovered by an employee at Cook County Vital Records after he noticed that the same woman put in a request for four death certificates on the same day. The woman claimed to be the sister of each of the deceased, but each deceased individual had a different name. A check of the records showed that the woman had placed requests for 37 death certificates all in 2019 alone. Each of the individuals whose birth certificates she requested were recent homicide victims—mostly children. She was able to recover earned income and child tax credits on the deceased children, earning a passive income from her Southside home. The woman was also able to recover several COVID stimulus checks while those were still being issued. 

eBay has become a haven for sports card enthusiasts and other collectors acting as a veritable stock exchange for valuable collectibles. However, not everything that happens on eBay is legal. For example, if you place a bid on your own item or bid up items you have no intention of purchasing, you are committing a felony known as shill bidding. As another example, if you try to sell vaccination cards on eBay, you can be charged with 12 counts of stealing government property.

Chicago pharmacist Tangtang Zhao sold 125 vaccination cards to 11 buyers for about $10 per card. While not quite as lucrative as a Mantle rookie, Zhao pulled in roughly $1,000 from the fraud and will now face charges before a federal magistrate.

When discussing the charges, federal authorities were appalled at the low price Zhao got for the vaccination cards. According to a spokesperson for the FBI, “To put such a small price on the safety of our nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences.”

The federal government considers fraud of public funds earmarked from natural disaster relief programs a particularly black-hearted crime. A Chicago tax preparer is facing charges that he helped his clients obtain millions in coronavirus relief aid under The CARES Act. While helping your clients secure loans is not in itself a federal crime, helping them secure loans under false pretenses is. Hadi Isbaih is charged with four counts of wire fraud. An indictment returned recently confirmed the charges. 

The government reinforced its commitment to prosecute those who steal from public coffers and deprive those who need the money of much-needed relief. 

Evaluating the Accusations

For as many government entitlement programs as there are, there are a number of ways to commit fraud. People commit fraud against the unemployment program, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, social security, and more. Aldermen commit fraud against government initiatives and then funnel the money to their own personal coffers. Now, a Chicago man is facing charges that he conspired with a post office employee to steal economic relief checks from the mail and cash them. 

Akeem Kosoko, 26, is facing one count of conspiracy to steal mail and government funds, three counts of embezzlement of government property, and three counts of receipt of stolen mail. The indictment says that Kosoko conspired with his brother, who was a postal worker, who is also facing a conspiracy charge. The defendants are facing federal charges

Theft of Government Funds

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.

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