CHICAGO – A suburban Chicago accountant has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for embezzling more than $ 1.1 million from four employers and three lending institutions.
PAUL ERIC COLLINS, 55, of Naperville, Ill., Pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo on Wednesday sentenced 98 months in prison following a hearing in federal court in Chicago. Judge Bucklo also ordered Collins to pay $ 1,159,414 in restitution to the victims.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., special agent in charge of the local Chicago office of the FBI.
“Collins stole funds from his employers even though he knew they were in desperate need of the funds to run their businesses,” US Deputy Prosecutor Jacqueline Stern said in the government’s condemnation memorandum. “Collins stole the victims for his own entirely selfish ends. “
Collins was an accountant who handled the finances of four employers from 2013 to 2018. During this time, Collins stole more than a million dollars from businesses by writing corporate checks to himself, his wife and the fake ones. companies he created. Collins also fraudulently withdrew money from ATMs and charged personal expenses to the company’s credit cards. He tried to cover up the thefts by making Ponzi-type payments to some victims.
Collins also stole more than $ 70,000 from three lenders by obtaining loans based on false statements. Collins fraudulently used the identity of one of the owners of his employer and falsely stated that the owner personally guaranteed the loans. When Collins failed to repay the full loan amount and the lenders demanded repayment, the homeowner had to dispute the fraudulent collateral.