Chicago Accountant Sentenced To 63 Months In Federal Prison For Stealing $4.3 Million From Clients And Cheating IRS
CHICAGO – A former Chicago accountant was sentenced today to more than five years in federal prison for embezzling more than $4.3 million from trust accounts that he was supposed to be managing for the benefit of clients and also cheating the government of more than $1.7 million in federal taxes on the money he stole. The defendant, ROBERT ROME, spent the money he stole to pay extravagant personal expenses, including cars, a boat, vacation homes in Florida, and jewelry for himself and his family.
Rome, 66, of Chicago, was the managing partner of the former Rome Associates LLP accounting firm in downtown Chicago. One of his largest clients was a family that owned a group of plumbing wholesale supply companies and he provided accounting and tax services to the family members and their businesses. Rome had sole authority to sign checks, transfer funds, and sign tax returns for the trusts he managed. He used his unlimited access to embezzle money between 2003 and 2007 by writing checks payable to himself or his firm. In addition to the trust funds, he stole money from a family investment partnership account and an account of the estate of a deceased family member.
Rome pleaded guilty to wire and tax fraud in September 2012. U.S. District Judge James Zagel sentenced him to 63 months in prison, telling Rome that his betrayal of the family’s trust made his crime worse than if he had invaded the victims’ homes and stolen their money. Rome was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Oct. 30, and was ordered him to pay $1,786,053 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Rome filed false federal income tax returns between 2004 and 2006 and failed to file a return for 2007. The judge also placed Rome on three years of supervision following his release from prison and barred him from working as an accountant or financial advisor.
There was no restitution ordered to the victim family members because they eventually recovered the stolen funds from third parties.
The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert G. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago; and James C. Lee, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Havey.