Blog Authors

Latest from Chicago Criminal Law Blog

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois is accusing the executive director of a southwest suburban autism center of engaging in fraud. Latrice Harrell runs the Champion Center for Autism and has been charged with filing fraudulent claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for therapeutic services that did not take place. Federal prosecutors allege that “Harrell fraudulently obtained at least $1.6 million” from the insurer. She has been charged in an indictment in U.S. District Court in Chicago with seven counts of health care fraud, as well as two counts of making false statements in…
Sitting just a few miles southwest of Chicago, suburban Orland Park was recently the site of a trio of drug arrests on some of the most serious charges a person can face in Illinois. According to a news report, three out-of-state men were arrested there and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell/deliver – Class X felonies. As many of our readers know, a Class X felony is the most serious felony Illinois has, apart from a first-degree murder charge. Even a first-time offender convicted of a Class X felony faces a mandatory minimum of…
Though Illinois State Sen. Thomas E. Cullerton lives in suburban Villa Park, he was recently indicted by a federal jury in Chicago. The 49-year-old faces multiple charges of public corruption, including 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union. He is also charged with conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans. Federal prosecutors allege that Cullerton fraudulently received salary and benefits from a union, though he did little or no work for the organization. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John R. Lausch, Jr. states in court documents that Cullerton was a member…
Three Chicago men have been charged by federal authorities with violent crimes in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood. The men – ages 37, 26 and 19 – are accused of involvement in a murder-for-hire operation that resulted in two fatal shootings. The men are each charged with conspiracy to use an interstate facility in the commission of a murder for hire, according to John R. Lausch, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Other agencies participating in the arrests included the FBI, the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives…
While much media attention is focused on the opioids epidemic, fewer headlines are devoted to the resurgence of methamphetamine. The powerful stimulant has regained the popularity it had back in the 1990s and early 2000s. According to research by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, meth-related drug arrests have increased significantly in our state in the past few years. The ICJIA says two main factors are responsible for the resurgence of meth use in Illinois: efforts to combat opioid abuse have reduced easy access to the drugs and meth has at the same time become cheaper and purer. The ICJIA…
Backed by dance-music rhythms, the raucous parties on a Chicago real estate agent’s 58-foot powerboat called Flying Lady stood out from the other floating festivities off of the downtown shore. In a recent article, the Tribune speculates that the parties might be over, however, after 44-year-old David Izsak’s arrest for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Federal officials seized the Flying Lady, seeking forfeiture of the Carver 570 Voyager yacht. In the indictment, they alleged that Izsak fraudulently obtained $360,000 in financing for its purchase back in 2011. The Tribune reports that Izsak faces up to 30 years in…
A divided Illinois appellate court recently stated that a decision striking down a controversial law enforcement practice used only in Cook County will not have dire consequences for the one department affected. “Our decision merely puts the Chicago police officers on equal footing with their colleagues in other departments throughout the State of Illinois.” The court struck down a Chicago police practice known as an “investigative alert.” It enabled supervisors to order police to arrest suspects they encountered without search warrants or observing them committing a crime. The appeals court wrote that the investigative alerts enabled cops to get…
Chicago’s history is inextricably linked with the history of the railroad. More lines of track radiate from Chicago than from any other city. Our hometown is the interchange point for freight traffic and the hub of Amtrak. When allegations of wrongdoing in the Chicago railroad industry surface, they are taken seriously by city, state and federal officials. A suburban software engineer for a locomotive manufacturer was recently charged by federal prosecutors of stealing trade secrets and sharing them with the company in China where he now works. Fifty-seven-year-old Xudong “William” Yao was charged with nine counts of trade secret theft,…
Chicago news media recently reported on a type of story that they have some experience with: allegations of wrongdoing in public office. As we have seen in our city, these types of public corruption accusations are often complex and politically charged. The recent articles are not about allegations in Chicago, however, but are instead rooted in neighboring Indiana, where a sanitary district administrator and local businessmen were arrested by federal officials as part of a years-long investigation into alleged corruption in Muncie city government. Debra Nicole “Nikki” Grigsby, the district administrator of the Muncie Sanitary District, and Tony Franklin, owner…
A few days ago, Chicago newspapers and TV stations exploded with the news that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was again facing prosecution. The 66-year-old hedge fund manager has been accused by a federal prosecutor of sex trafficking and conspiracy. If convicted, Epstein faces a possible sentence of 45 years in a federal prison. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a decade ago Epstein was prosecuted on related charges in Florida. At that time, Epstein, his defense attorney and prosecutors reached a deal that spared him a long prison sentence. He served 13 months in a county jail with work release privileges on…
Richard Wallace, the founder of the non-profit Chicago civil rights and justice organization, Equity and Transformation (EAT) says the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois presents us with “the greatest contradiction that we’ve seen.” Wallace points out that a “poor person sells cannabis to put food on the table; they’re a criminal. A wealthy person sells cannabis to make more wealth; they’re touted as innovators.” One important feature of legalization is that the arrest records of hundreds of thousands of people who have been convicted on marijuana-related charges are now eligible for expungement. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx…
If you laid out the 15,582 plastic-wrapped bricks of cocaine end-to-end, they would stretch two and a half miles, officials said. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that some of the confiscated haul was recently put on display by federal law enforcement agents who said they seized more than 17 tons of the drug a few days ago at the Port of Philadelphia. Six people have been arrested on drug-trafficking charges in what is being called one of the largest drug busts in U.S. history. The street value of the historic haul has been estimated at more than $1.1 billion. “Thirty-five thousand…
The recent release of the Department of Justice’s annual report on its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program made it clear that the federal government continues to focus on this area of criminal law. It has shown time and again that it is willing to charge doctors, pharmacists, executives and investors alike. Healthcare fraud allegations can be leveled against both government payers and private payers, according to a recent news article. The article cited the example of seven people who were accused of involvement in a bribery scheme that purportedly revolved around a doctor-owned surgical center. The DOJ alleged…
A few years ago, Chicago restaurant reviewers wrote of Embeya’s modern Asian menu. The West Loop restaurant featured salmon tartare, poached octopus, mustard-laced avocado puree and much more that delighted diners. The former owner of the eatery was recently in a federal courtroom for a hearing on whether he could be released from custody after being arrested last December in Spain. Attila Gyulai, 47, was charged with wire fraud after prosecutors alleged that he defrauded investors of approximately $300,000. The restaurateur and his wife opened the Asian fusion restaurant in the 500 block of West Randolph back in September of 2012. Reviewers…
Most of us who drive on the Eisenhower Expressway going in or out of Chicago are too focused on the traffic to think about being watched as we navigate the busy roadway. News reports about the installation of 20 high-tech surveillance cameras along the expressway mean that it is time to think about being observed by authorities. Chicago law enforcement officials say the cameras will be used to prosecute drug-traffickers on what has dubbed “Heroin Highway.” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, “Video provided by these cameras will have the potential to aid in the prosecution of criminals. Few things…
A West Side Chicago man was about 40 miles from his Lawndale home when he was recently arrested in suburban Joliet. The 25-year-old faces several serious charges, according to his hometown newspaper, including manufacture and delivery of a heroin-like substance, manufacture and delivery of a cocaine-like substance, possession of a weapon by felon and possession of a firearm by a street gang member. The news report says that both weapons charges are Class 2 felonies punishable by three to seven years in state prison. In Illinois, the state considers not only well-known drugs such as heroin and cocaine to be…