Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CEO of the bankrupt Sentinel Management Group, Inc. convicted

CHICAGO―The chief executive officer of the bankrupt Sentinel Management Group, Inc., was convicted today of defrauding more than 70 customers of more than $500 million before the firm collapsed in August 2007. The defendant, ERIC A. BLOOM, misappropriated securities belonging to customers by using them as collateral for a loan that Sentinel obtained from Bank of New York Mellon Corp., which was used, in part, to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of high-risk, illiquid securities, not for customers but for a trading portfolio maintained for the benefit of Sentinel’s officers, including Bloom, members of his family, and corporations controlled by the Bloom family.
A federal jury deliberated less than two hours after a four-week trial in U.S. District Court before returning guilty verdicts on 18 counts of wire fraud and one count of investment adviser fraud. The case is one of the largest financial fraud cases ever prosecuted in Federal Court in Chicago.

Ukrainian Businessman Arrested in Austria on U.S. International Corruption Conspiracy Charges

WASHINGTON—Dmitry Firtash, 48, a Ukrainian businessman, was arrested Wednesday by Austrian authorities in Vienna on a provisional arrest request based on charges filed in the Northern District of Illinois, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois.
The charges result from an investigation, which the FBI has conducted for several years, of an alleged international corruption conspiracy. Firtash’s arrest is not related to recent events in Ukraine.
Firtash, who controls Group DF, an international conglomerate of companies, remains in Austrian custody unless he meets the bail condition of posting a €125 million bond, which was set today in a Vienna court. The U.S. government will seek his extradition.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The department has worked closely with and has received significant assistance from its law enforcement counterparts in Austria and greatly appreciates their assistance in this matter. Significant assistance was also provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs. The Chicago Office of the FBI conducted the investigation.

Bulgarian nationals Indicted in Chicago in International ATM Skimming and Money Laundering Scheme

WASHINGTON—Seventeen defendants are facing federal fraud or related charges for their alleged roles in an international ATM skimming and money laundering scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Two defendants were arrested in Sofia, Bulgaria, and 13 defendants were arrested yesterday in Chicago and several suburbs by FBI agents following a lengthy international investigation.
The alleged scheme involved using ATM and debit card numbers and the personal identification numbers associated with them, which were fraudulently obtained in Europe, to withdraw money from victims’ accounts using automated teller machines at various locations in the Chicago area. The charges were brought in a 29-count indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on March 12 and was unsealed following the arrests and made public today.