Federal Jury Convicts Lawyer on Charges of Defrauding an Elderly Couple and a Bank to Prevent Foreclosure on Aurora Property
CHICAGO — A lawyer licensed to practice in Illinois has been convicted on federal fraud charges for scheming to provide falsified documents to prevent foreclosure on a nearly $2 million parcel of land in Aurora. The fraud left an elderly couple out of $300,000.
The jury in federal court in Chicago convicted ROBERT JON SCHLYER, 47, of Portage, Ind., of two counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, and one count of bank fraud.
Schlyer’s fraud scheme occurred while representing two clients, co-schemers KEVIN LEBEAU and BRIAN BODIE, in connection with a foreclosure lawsuit. Evidence at trial revealed that Schlyer provided false and fraudulent documents to an elderly couple and Amcore Bank in order to postpone foreclosure on the Aurora property.
The jury returned the guilty verdicts on Oct. 6, 2017, after a four-day trial. U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve set sentencing for Jan. 31, 2018, at 9:15 a.m. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The conviction was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and John P. Selleck, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to evidence at trial, in 2004 Amcore Bank received a mortgage on the 10.4-acre property in Aurora after issuing a $1.9 million loan for the refinancing and redevelopment of the property. Lebeau and Bodie executed a full personal guarantee for the loan. By the fall of 2005, Lebeau and Bodie had failed to make the required payments, the loan was in default, and the bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit to seize the property.
During the scheme, Schlyer, who acted as Lebeau’s and Bodie’s attorney in the foreclosure suit, obtained $300,000 from an elderly retired couple by providing them with fake documents that made it seem like they were making a safe investment in the redevelopment and that it would be secured by a trust. Schlyer also claimed to be the trustee of the purported trust. In reality, there was no trust and Schlyer was not a trustee. Schlyer and his co-schemers also concealed from the elderly couple the foreclosure suit and LeBeau’s and Bodie’s inability to pay the bank debt. A portion of funds obtained from the elderly couple through the fraud was used to pay down the bank loan.
Together with his co-schemers, Schlyer furnished fraudulent and fabricated documents to the bank, including forged documents that made it appear that investors had committed approximately $1.5 million to the redevelopment of the property. Eventually the foreclosure occurred, and the property was sold in 2010 at a significant loss to the bank.
LeBeau, of Aurora, and Bodie, of Chicago, were previously convicted in the case and are awaiting sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kartik K. Raman and Amarjeet S. Bhachu.