Four Employees of Washington Federal Bank Charged for Bank Fraud
After an investigation that took place in 2017 looking intofraud at Washington Federal Bank, federal regulators ended up shutting down the bank. The president of
the bank, John F. Gembara, was found dead via hanging in a customer’s
Park Ridge home just days before the bank ceased operations. Now four
employees associated with the bank have been charged for helping Robert
M. Kowlaski, a Chicago attorney, embezzle at least $29 million. As an
important customer of the bank, Kowalski, with the help of his sister,
Jan R. Kowalski, was indicted for trying to conceal assets amid Robert’s
active bankruptcy case.
According to the federal indictment, the four bank employees who were charged
allegedly transferred portions of the $29 million to Robert Kowalski,
as well as other prominent customers and many times, did not fill out
the proper documentation for the transfers. In addition, these individuals
falsified bank records to hide the misappropriation of the money. The
federal indictment also reports that two of the four bank employees discussed
making changes to an appraisal of one of Robert Kowalski’s properties
by way of “scissors and copier.”
Details regarding how the death of the bank’s president took place
were not included in the indictment. The
hanging death of John F. Gembara took place in Marek Matczuk’s million-dollar home. Matczuk was a
friend of Gembara and his home went into foreclosure approximately five
months prior to Gembara’s untimely death. While the Cook County
medical examiner said Gembara’s death was a suicide, Gembara’s
family members believe otherwise. According to some in Gembara’s
family, the incident was not a suicide, but rather a murder.
The investigation into this case remains ongoing, according to federal
authorities. Also, prosecutors have indicated that there will be many
people charged with crimes. The totality of the crimes that were committed
at the bank could have resulted in more than $80 million embezzled accompanied
by phony documentation covering the cash trail.
What are the Penalties for Bank Fraud?
Bank fraud is a white-collar crime that has hefty penalties as listed under
U.S. Code § 1344. Fines and prison time are both attached to a conviction
of bank fraud. The amount of money that was stolen along with how the
money was stolen will determine how high the fines are and how much prison
time will be served. A conviction could penalize a defendant with a fine
as high as $1 million and a prison term of up to 30 years. To secure a
conviction, prosecutors must make the case proving that the defendant
actively and knowingly had intent to willingly engage in the criminal acts.
Speak With a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The seriousness of a bank fraud conviction will change your life in an
instant. Thomas C. Hallock is an experienced and aggressive
Illinois federal criminal defense attorney that has helped numerous individuals charged with major federal crimes
see the best outcome possible for their case. Thomas C. Hallock will fight
to defend your rights and against the federal charges you face.
Call Thomas C. Hallock to schedule your completely free consultation at
(312) 487-2441 for local residents or toll-free at (888) 412-3741.