Illinois residents may be aware that a few well-known people have been caught up in a college admissions scandal. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among dozens of parents who are accused of paying large sums to ensure that their children were accepted to some of America's most prominent schools. Court documents made public on April 4 reveal that Huffman is one of 14 defendants who have chosen to avoid a trial and plead guilty to charges such as conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. This brings the total number of guilty pleas to 18, according to prosecutors.
For many people in Illinois, lawyer Michael Avenatti became a celebrity when he represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal action against President Donald Trump. His representation of Daniels was accompanied by frequent press conferences and TV appearances. However, he is now facing charges after being arrested for extortion on March 25. Avenatti is accused of attempting to extort $25 million from Nike through threats to reveal some form of damaging information about the company. He is also facing separate federal charges, accused of embezzling one client's money in order to cover his own debts and of defrauding a bank.
A university study that examined federal prosecutions of white-collar crimes identified the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois as the location with the most white-collar cases per capita in January. Researchers drew upon data from the U.S. Department of Justice to measure prosecutions against people accused of various crimes like identity theft, wire fraud or embezzlement. Despite the spike in cases recorded in Illinois, these caseloads fluctuate. The southern district ranked as low as 51st among federal courts with white-collar cases a year ago.
Illinois residents may be interested to learn that the Securities Exchange Commission has filed a claim against a former high-ranking attorney at Apple who allegedly used his position as corporate secretary to engage in insider trading. According to the suit, the lawyer either profited or avoided the loss of $382,000.
An Illinois man who previously co-owned one of the most popular restaurants in Chicago was arrested in Spain on charges of misappropriation of funds and wire fraud. The man previously owned Embeya, an Asian restaurant that won accolades for its innovative design and cuisine along with the restaurant's chef. Despite its popularity, the restaurant suddenly closed in the summer of 2016. After the sudden closure, the man and his wife seemingly disappeared, leaving their car behind and parked outside their home in River West. After two weeks, police ticketed the car before impounding it; by that time, the two had apparently been outside the country for some time.
Of the many white-collar crimes in the world today, Ponzi schemes can be especially devastating for small investors in Illinois. Many innocent people have lost substantial sums of money through this type of pyramid scheme.
For corporate officials in Illinois and across the country, insider trading of securities opens one to prosecution and potentially serious consequences. Some federal prosecutors who have been heavily involved in major insider trading cases are now addressing the culture of leaks in the political system. Of particular concern is the political intelligence industry. Unlike traditional leaking of policy information to journalists, the industry pays for insider information in order to profit on the stock market.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois has created the Health Care Fraud Unit. This team of five assistant U.S. attorneys was created to prosecute health care fraud cases of all types, including diversion of controlled substances and fraudulent billing schemes.
On May 12, it was reported that an Illinois dermatologist based in Chicago was convicted on charges of health care fraud after he was accused of billing for care associated with fraudulently reported pre-cancerous treatments. The man, age 48, submitted false claims from 2007 to 2013 and faces up to 120 years in prison as a result.
On Feb. 21, an Illinois man who pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud was sentenced to three years in prison. The man had reportedly been involved in a scheme to defraud investors into investing in a convention complex located near O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.