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Summary of recent cases brought by the US Attorney in NDIL

A brief summary of 4 cases brought last week by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Illinois.

Chicago Journal
Chicago Journal
| 4 min read
Summary of recent cases brought by the US Attorney in NDIL

Suburban Chicago Tax Preparer Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison for Orchestrating a Variety of Fraud Schemes

A suburban Chicago tax preparer was sentenced to two years in federal prison for orchestrating a variety of schemes that defrauded the IRS, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Social Security Administration.



Lisa Lloyd Taylor, 57, of Country Club Hills, pleaded guilty to federal tax and theft charges, and U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood imposed the sentence after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

Taylor is the owner of Ebiz Accounting Services in Country Club Hills, Illinois. Authorities alleged that Taylor willfully filed false personal or corporate tax returns from 2010 to 2013 that substantially underreported her own income or the income earned by her business.

In addition to manipulating her personal income, from 2011 to 2015 Taylor also willfully prepared thousands of tax returns for her clients that claimed false deductions for purported charitable contributions and child-care expenses. Taylor’s tax schemes resulted in a total federal and state tax loss of more than $1.02 million.

In addition to the tax offenses, Taylor was also accused of underreporting her income to fraudulently obtain more than $53,000 in financial aid benefits for her children. Without the underreporting of her income, Taylor’s children would not have qualified for the Department of Education grants.

Taylor was also accused of defrauding the Social Security Administration by applying for and collecting more than $134,000 in disability benefits to which she was not entitled. From 2011 to 2017, Taylor concealed from the SSA the extent to which she was working and the amount of income she received from Ebiz.



Joliet Financial Advisor Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges for Allegedly Swindling Clients Out of Nearly $800,000

A Joliet financial advisor was indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling several clients out of nearly $800,000.

According to the indictment, Ronald T. Molo, 61, of Shorewood, Illinois, was charged with six counts of wire fraud in relation to his work as a licensed financial advisor in the Joliet branch of a national financial services firm.

Authorities allege that from 2018 to earlier this year, Molo falsely represented to clients that their investments with him would be income-producing and tax-free, and that they would receive regular, periodic interest payments. And authorities allege that he did so using materials from his national financial services firm to give the clients a false sense of security and confidence that they were making authentic investments sanctioned by the firm.

In reality, authorities say, Molo did not intend to invest client funds and instead misappropriated their money to pay for personal expenses, including a Cadillac XT5 and GMC Yukon sport-utility vehicles, mortgage payments for himself and family members, home remodeling and construction costs, lottery tickets, travel and shopping expenses, and cash payments to family members.

As a result of the scheme, Molo caused at least three clients to suffer losses totaling $778,000, the indictment states.

Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

The defendant's arraignment has not yet been scheduled, and he is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial.



Man Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Selling Weight-Loss Product Containing Unapproved Additive

On Monday it was announced that Judge John Z. Lee, a U.S. District judge here in Illinois, had sentenced an Oregon man to a year in prison for manufacturing and selling a purported weight-loss product containing the unapproved additive 2,4-Dinitrophenol, known as DNP.

Authorities alleged that the man obtained DNP from sources in China and used it as the primary ingredient in capsules that he manufactured in a makeshift lab in his garage and marketed online as a weight-loss product. Further, in an effort to deceive regulatory and law enforcement agencies, the man falsely labeled his product as pesticide and sold the capsules to customers throughout the United States via his website – ScorpionDNP.com – and through postings on other sites, including reddit.com.

Jonathan E. McGraw, 33, of Newberg, Oregon, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal charge of introducing a new drug into interstate commerce without approval.

DNP is an organic compound that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any other regulatory agency for human consumption in the United States. McGraw acknowledged in his plea agreement that he knew that the use of DNP by his customers created a risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Judge Lee sentenced McGraw to a year and a day in federal prison.



Chicago Businessman Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges for Allegedly Swindling Customers and Investors Out of $350,000

A Chicago businessman was indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling customers and investors out of at least $350,000.

According to the indictment, Brian Blalock, 37, of Chicago, was charged with nine counts of wire fraud in relation to buying and selling heavy industrial equipment.

Blalock operated three Chicago-based businesses – PWC Holdings LLC, Brian Blalock LLC, and Parkwood Companies LLC – through which he purported to buy and sell trucks, trailers, road construction machines, oil field equipment, and generators. Authorities allege that Blalock solicited and obtained money by falsely representing that he could either directly sell equipment to them or use their funds to purchase and sell equipment to others and then share in the substantial profits.

In reality, authorities say, Blalock did not intend to deliver any equipment to the victim buyers, nor did he intend to use their investment funds to purchase and sell equipment. Instead, the charges state, Blalock used a substantial portion of the victims’ funds for his own personal benefit, including his rent payments, utility bills, meals at restaurants, and retail purchases.

As a result of the scheme, from 2018 to 2021, Blalock caused the victims to suffer at least $350,000 in losses.

Just as with the case listed above, each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

And Mr. Blalock's arraignment has also not yet been scheduled. He is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial.



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