Federal Charges Filed Against an Illinois Businessman for Wire Fraud

Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyAccording to Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1343, a person commits the federal offense of wire fraud when he or she devises a scheme or plan that uses wire, radio, or television communication to obtain money or property under fraudulent or false pretenses. The crime of wire fraud is very similar to the offense of mail fraud, but instead of using the postal service, wire fraud uses electronic communication.

A person who is convicted on federal charges for wire fraud is subject to penalties that include up to 20 years in prison for each count. This is the sentence that a suburban Chicago businessman could face after being arrested last week and charged with wire fraud in federal court. The man’s alleged scheme involved the fraudulent sale of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Business Formed at the Beginning of COVID Lockdown

Numerous news outlets are reporting that a 44-year-old man was arrested on November 9 for his alleged role in a scheme to defraud two hospitals of approximately $2.6 million. The man is the head of a biotechnology company formed in March in the village of Willowbrook, Illinois, just as nationwide lockdowns were being implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The company’s website states that it provides “medical supplies for both personal and professional use.”

A Series of Serious Allegations

The complaint against the man was filed in United States District Court in Chicago, and it alleges that the man stole from a university hospital in the Chicago area and a second hospital in Iowa. According to the complaint, the hospitals ordered a combined one million N95 masks from the company at a price of more than $3 million. Authorities say that the hospitals deposited money into an account that they thought was the company’s, but the account was controlled only by the defendant.

When the masks were not delivered as promised, the man reportedly told one of the hospitals that his bank had no record of the deposit. The complaint alleges that the man altered a bank statement to make it look like the money had not been paid. The man is accused of taking the money for personal use, including the purchase of two Maserati sports cars and a Land Rover SUV.

The man was in court on Tuesday for a formal reading of the charges. He is scheduled to return to court this week for more preliminary hearings. If convicted, the man could spend up to 20 years in federal prison.

Facing Wire Fraud Charges?

If you are being investigated or have been charged with the federal crime of wire fraud, it is important to have an attorney on your side who is dedicated to protecting your rights. A skilled lawyer can provide the guidance you need both before and after formal charges are filed against you. While no two cases are exactly the same, we are prepared to help you build an aggressive, responsible defense strategy for your specific situation.

Contact a Chicago Federal Crimes Defense Attorney

To learn more about our firm and how we can assist with your situation, contact an Illinois federal criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today. We will review your case, and help you defend against the charges you may be facing. Call 312-270-0999 for a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2020-11-10/fraud-charges-filed-against-head-of-biotechnology-company

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-businessman-ppe-fraud-20201110-nx4sd6l2p5ddxgo7tylryczjia-story.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1343

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