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Press Release

Former Payroll Manager for Chicago Museum Admits to Misappropriating More Than $2 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — The former payroll manager for a Chicago museum pleaded guilty today in federal court to misappropriating more than $2 million in museum funds.

According to the written plea agreement, from 2007 to 2020, MICHAEL MAURELLO, 56, of Beach Park, siphoned money from the museum’s payroll account to his personal bank accounts by falsely designating the payments as legitimate compensation to other employees.  In his plea agreement, Maurello admitted that he kept spreadsheets and notes to track the misappropriated money so that he could later make reversals within the payroll system to hide his fraudulent scheme.  When the museum’s assistant controller asked Maurello in January 2020 about one of the payments, Maurello falsely stated that the transaction had been a test of the payroll system.  Maurello then edited and altered a report from the payroll system to conceal information about the misappropriated funds.

Sentencing has been set for September 14, 2023.  Maurello faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to 3 years on supervised release.  Maurello may also be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from his offense, whichever is greater, and he must be sentenced to pay restitution to the museum of $2,308,772.

The guilty plea was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey B. Rubenstein.

Updated April 12, 2023

Financial Fraud