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Articles Tagged with white collar crimes

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?

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.

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.

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

DSC04156-BThe state and definition of counterfeiting laws will tell you a lot about the community in which they are designed and implemented. Illinois is no exception. The state has a set of complex and situational rules relating to counterfeiting and forgery; a true Pandora’s Box for a diligent attorney. For the most part, the law seems to target those who create forged money, but there are many other forms of falsification that are captured by the legislation. A person is guilty of a crime in Illinois when he or she creates or uses written documents that have been falsified or altered in significant ways. In this case the constituent ingredients of the crime can encompass both the making of forged/altered documents as well as possessing them with the intention of using them for illegal purposes.

A Counterfeiting Law for the New Age

As criminals in this area have become more sophisticated in their modus operandi, the law has been forced to play catch-up. For example it recognized the use of false documents for defrauding in which possession is disputed as well as the effects of subtle alteration using digital means (720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/17-3). The classic case is that of a forged check that is successfully cashed by a third party because the signature on it appears to be authentic to the recipient bank regardless of whether or not the account holder actually gave permission for that cheque to be paid. The elderly and those with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud. As the case made it through the courts, it became a gradually-established norm that the instrument used to defraud must be credible to an ordinary reasonable person. Hence where the forgery is almost comical in its design and presentation, the user may be able to escape a criminal charge.

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