Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Payroll Manager for Chicago Museum Charged With 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 has been indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly misappropriating more than $2 million in museum funds.

An indictment returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago accuses MICHAEL MAURELLO of fraudulently obtaining the museum funds from 2007 to 2020.  Maurello caused the museum to deposit money into his personal bank accounts by designating the payments in the payroll system as having been made to other employees or former employees, the indictment states.  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, the indictment states.  Maurello then edited and altered a report from the museum’s payroll system to conceal information about the misappropriated funds, including by falsely changing the employees’ names and the dates and dollar amounts of the payments, the indictment states.

The indictment charges Maurello, 56, of Beach Park, Ill., with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.  Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., 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 FBI.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey B. Rubenstein.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each count of bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison, while each count of wire fraud carries a maximum of 20 years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated January 13, 2023

Financial Fraud