Securities Regulation Daily Illinois accountant charged for misappropriating approximately $65 million
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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Illinois accountant charged for misappropriating approximately $65 million

By R. Jason Howard, J.D.

Fraudulent loan documents, forged authorizations, false account statements, and Ponzi-type payments were used to conceal fraud.

An information was announced by United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John R. Lausch and Jeffrey S. Sallet, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago office of the FBI, relating to a scheme to defraud a Chicago-area family, financial institutions, and various individual investors perpetrated by a former certified public accountant (U.S. v. Issa, February 5, 2019).

The information states that beginning no later than 2007 and continuing through at least November 2017, the former accountant embezzled at least $55 million in assets from the Chicago-area family for whom he acted as CFO of a group of partnerships, corporations, and trusts owned by the family. In addition, the former accountant solicited at least $8.8 million from various individuals by claiming he would invest in opportunities, including the luxury car dealership he owned.

The former accountant used tens of millions of dollars to cover personal expenses and to secure fraudulent loans totaling at least $83 million from financial institutions. Those funds were used to "acquire, among other things, 25 residential properties in Illinois, Montana, Michigan, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, two private aircraft, four yachts, approximately 60 firearms, and assorted watches, jewelry and memorabilia."

He also used a portion of the fraudulently obtained funds to make Ponzi-type payments to individuals and financial institutions and, as a result of his actions, caused losses to his victims, including the Chicago-area family, financial institutions, and individual investors, totaling approximately $65 million.

The information charges the 45-year old former accountant with one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution; a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

The case in No. 1:19-cr-00097.

Attorneys: Kathryn E. Malizia, U.S. Attorney's Office, for the United States.

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