Summary of Recent Cases Brought by the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois: August 22, 2022

Two defendants convicted in federal probe that busted drug pipeline from Mexico to Chicago

August 9, 2022

A jury has convicted two suburban Chicago men of drug conspiracy in a federal investigation that disrupted a drug pipeline between Mexico and Chicago.

SHELDON MORALES and EDUARDO SANTANA conspired with a supplier in Mexico and two inmates in a Texas prison to traffic methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine from Mexico to Evanston, Illinois, and Morton Grove, Illinois, in 2019. The Drugs were sent in parcels from California and Arizona and later sold on the streets of the Chicago area.

Law enforcement uncovered the drug trafficking activities through the use of tapped cell phones and extensive surveillance. The case was part of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The OECDTF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug traffickers and other criminals who threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages federal law enforcement forces , state and local against criminal networks .

After a week-long trial in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, the jury on August 5, 2022 convicted Morales, 40, of Morton Grove, Illinois, and Santana, 45, of Skokie, Illinois, of drug conspiracy . . Morales was also convicted of a single drug charge related to his possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl. Morales faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of life, while Santana faces a mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life.

U.S. District Judge Mary M. Rowland has not yet scheduled any sentencing.

Three Chicago-area residents charged with COVID-Relief fraud

August 10, 2022

Three Chicago-area residents have been charged by the federal government for allegedly fraudulently obtaining more than $2.75 million in small business loans under the Economic Aid, Relief, and Security Act (“ CARES”) against the coronavirus.

SAMUEL W. JACKSON, DAVID L. SULLIVAN II and ELIZABETH A. CHERVINKO engaged in fraud related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) – two sources of relief under the CARES Act, according to an indictment unsealed in the Northern District of Illinois. The indictment charges Jackson, 42, of Chicago, with five counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, while Sullivan, 49, of Naperville, Ill., and Chervinko, 41, of Chicago, are each charged with one count of wire. fraud.

Jackson pleaded not guilty when arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sunil R. Harjani. Arrests for Sullivan and Chervinko have been set for August 17, 2022, at 1:30 p.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole.

Under the CARES Act, a PPP loan allows interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend a certain amount of the proceeds on essential expenses, such as payroll, rent, and utilities, while the EIDL provides loan assistance or grants to cover the work. capital and other operating expenses.

According to the indictment, the defendants in the spring and summer of 2020 submitted fraudulent claims and supporting documents to lenders, loan service providers and the SBA, on their own behalf and on behalf of related entities, including three Montana-based companies. – Dream Builder LLC, Ordained Destination LLC and Ordained Real Estate LLC – and two Illinois-based companies – Top Flight Real Estate LLC and Tips @ 170 Inc. The claims and exhibits contained materially false statements about the defendants’ companies , including number of alleged employees, income and payroll amounts and other expenses, the indictment states.

The indictment alleges that the defendants defrauded the lenders of approximately $2.49 million in PPP loans and defrauded the SBA of approximately $256,500 in EIDL funds. Much of the money was allegedly used for the personal benefit of the defendants, including the purchase of real estate and the rental and purchase of luxury automobiles.

Each charge of wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, while the maximum sentence for each count of money laundering is ten years.

Former Chicago Construction Company accountant accused of embezzling millions from company funds

August 12, 2022

A former senior accountant for a Chicago construction company has been charged with federal fraud for allegedly embezzling millions of company funds.

RICHARD A. MANDARINO entered false payment requests into the construction company’s accounting system, which resulted in checks being issued to the vendor companies for goods and services that Mandarino knew had never been provided, according to an indictment remanded in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Mandarino then converted those payments for his personal use and that of others, the indictment says. Mandarino allegedly concealed the thefts by creating fictitious credits and offsets in the construction company’s accounting system.

Mandarino committed the alleged fraud from 2015 to 2017 while residing in Canada and working on the construction company’s Canadian business projects, the indictment says. The charges allege that Mandarino fraudulently misappropriated and obtained more than two million Canadian dollars.

The indictment charges Mandarino, 43, of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, with three counts of wire fraud. The appearance in the US District Court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled. Each count of wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

Texas man sentenced to 4 years in federal prison for distributing anabolic steroids through the mail

August 12, 2022

A Texas man has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for distributing anabolic steroids through the mail.

DAVID E. HUTCHINSON, 47, of Georgetown, Texas, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of distributing anabolic steroids. U.S. District Judge John R. Blakey imposed the jail sentence Thursday after a hearing in federal court in Rockford.

According to a written plea agreement, Hutchinson, who used the name “Robolics”, distributed anabolic steroids through the U.S. Post Office from at least January through November 2019. Hutchinson sold a variety of products containing anabolic steroids. He advertised the steroids on online forums, both directly and through sales reps. He took orders by email and accepted payment either in cash mailed to a fictitious company or by bitcoin transfer. Upon payment, Hutchinson shipped anabolic steroid orders to customers in multiple states. Hutchinson admitted in the plea agreement that he sent several packages containing anabolic steroids to a location in Algonquin, Illinois. The shipments filled orders placed by federal law enforcement acting as an undercover.

When law enforcement executed a search warrant at Hutchinson’s residence in North Carolina on November 21, 2019, Hutchinson was found to be in possession of over 6,900 grams of anabolic steroids in powder form, several U.S. postal packages containing anabolic steroids that Hutchinson had packed for shipment, various compounding and packaging materials, multiple firearms, a safe containing over $88,000 in cash, and a hard cryptocurrency wallet containing approximately $87,332 in cryptocurrency. Hutchinson admitted in the plea agreement that on November 18, 2019, he delivered to a North Carolina post office a package containing samples of his product that he was shipping to Slovakia for chemical analysis. The next day, he delivered to the post office nine packages containing anabolic steroids that he was shipping to customers.

Two men charged in federal court with violent carjackings in suburban Chicago

August 19, 2022

A federal grand jury has indicted two men for carjacking in connection with the violent vehicle thefts in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

EDSON RESENDEZ and MAVERICK CELA forcibly took vehicles in Morton Grove, Ill., and Skokie, Ill., according to an unsealed indictment in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The indictment charges Resendez, 21, and Cela, 21, both of Chicago, with one count of conspiracy to commit carjacking and two counts of carjacking. Resendez also faces an additional count of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in a violent crime.

Resendez was arrested Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty while appearing in federal court. A detention hearing is scheduled for August 23, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert.

This is currently in the custody of the State of Illinois. His appearance in federal court has not yet been scheduled.

According to the indictment, Resendez and Cela took a Chevrolet Sonic from a victim in Morton Grove on September 11, 2020. Cela then disposed of the vehicle by lighting it on fire in the 6200 block of North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, according to the indictment. .

On September 13, 2020, Resendez and Cela took a Lexus GS350 from a victim in Skokie, the indictment states. The couple then disposed of the vehicle in the 4800 block of South Hermitage Avenue in Chicago, according to the charges.

Each count of carjacking carries a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison. The firearms charge against Resendez carries a minimum prison sentence of seven years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, which must be served consecutively to the sentence imposed for the offense of carjacking. The conspiracy charge carries a sentence of up to five years.

Man sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for unlawful possession of loaded gun on Chicago street

August 22, 2022

A man has been sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for unlawfully possessing a loaded handgun during an altercation on a Chicago street.

JULIAN ALMANZA, 22, of Chicago, illegally possessed the weapon on the afternoon of January 14, 2021, in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. At one point during the altercation, Almanza stood in the middle of a street and pointed his gun at several people. When Chicago police began arriving on the scene, Almanza slipped the gun under a truck. Officers soon discovered the pistol, which was fitted with an extended magazine and loaded with 25 rounds.

Almanza had previously been convicted of two felonies involving firearms in state court and was not legally entitled to possess the gun. He was on parole for the most recent firearm offense at the time of the federal indictment.

Almanza pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee imposed a 44-month prison sentence after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.



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