According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, two suburban Chicago men, Robert C. Pribilski and John T. Burns III, both affiliated with USA Retirement Management Services, were indicted on federal charges related to a Ponzi-like scheme in which they bilked $28 million from about 120 investors. Authorities claim that along with a third man, Mahmut Erhan Durmaz, the duo operated the fraudulent scheme from 2005 to 2010. USA Retirement Management Services has operated offices in Oakbrook Terrace and southern California. Durmaz has allegedly fled the country, thus avoiding the charges that the other two men are facing, at least for now.
The accused men reportedly convinced wealthy investors by advertising estate-planning seminars at local hotels and banquet halls in Illinois and California to invest in Turkish bonds that would allegedly bring investors high rates of return, ranging from 4.75 to 11 percent. Although the men promised investors a guaranteed return, they instead used the investment funds to pay other investors, speculate in real estate and restaurants that failed, and make millions of dollars in payments to themselves, friends, and families.
The lawyer for Burns alleges that he should not have been indicated, as he was simply an employee hired by Pribilski and Durmaz to give presentations and follow up with prospective investors. According to Burns, he had no control over the business’s books and was unaware of any illegitimate business operations.
Pribilski and Burns now are facing multiple federal charges as a result of their allegedly fraudulent scheme. Although these are not violent crimes, but, rather, fall within the classification of white-collar crimes, they are facing potentially severe consequences, including, but not limited to, restitution in the amount of $28 million lost by investors to the scheme.
If you are facing federal charges or other white-collar criminal charges, you will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to build a strong defense. Contact your Chicago area criminal defense lawyer today in order to determine the best course of action for your case.