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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Illinois Accountant Charged with Fraud for Allegedly Misappropriating More Than $65 Million from Individuals and Financial Institutions

CHICAGO — An Illinois accountant was charged today with criminal fraud for allegedly misappropriating more than $65 million from individuals and financial institutions.

SULTAN ISSA was a certified public accountant and the Chief Financial Officer of a group of partnerships, corporations and trusts owned by a Chicago-area family.  From 2007 to 2017, Issa embezzled at least $55 million of the family’s assets and solicited at least another $8.8 million from individuals in his personal capacity, claiming he would invest their money in legitimate opportunities, including a luxury auto dealership Issa owned in Burr Ridge, according to a criminal information filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Issa used tens of millions of dollars in fraud proceeds to cover personal expenses and to secure fraudulent loans from financial institutions totaling at least $83 million to acquire, among other things, 25 residential properties in Illinois, Montana, Michigan, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, two private aircraft, four yachts, approximately 60 firearms, and assorted watches, jewelry and memorabilia, the information states.  He used another $15 million in fraudulently obtained funds to pay expenses related to the auto dealership, including the purchase of a showroom, the acquisition of luxury cars, and the salaries of employees, the information states.

The information charges Issa, 45, of Hinsdale, with one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution.  Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The information was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn E. Malizia.

Issa attempted to conceal the scheme by providing financial institutions with fraudulent loan documents and forging authorizations to gain control of funds belonging to the family-owned group, the information states.  Issa also created false account statements and made Ponzi-type payments to individual investors, the information states.

The public is reminded that a charge 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. 

Wire fraud affecting a financial institution carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Attachment(s): 
Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Updated February 5, 2019