Suburban Chicago Businessman Sentenced to Eleven Years in Federal Prison for Participating in Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme
CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago businessman who schemed with an attorney and two others to sell millions of dollars in phony mortgages has been sentenced to eleven years in federal prison.
ALBERT ROSSINI, the owner of Devon Street Investments in Lincolnwood, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A jury in 2018 convicted Rossini, 73, of Skokie, on multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; William Hedrick, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago; Michael Powell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and Thomas J. Dart, Cook County Sheriff. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Mitchell.
Evidence at trial revealed that Rossini plotted with father-and-son co-defendants BABAJAN KHOSHABE, of Chicago, and ANTHONY KHOSHABE, of Skokie, to fraudulently induce more than a dozen victims into purchasing purported mortgage notes on apartment buildings in or near foreclosure. The defendants fraudulently promised that investors would receive title to the properties at the conclusion of the foreclosure process. In reality, the defendants did not own the mortgage notes, and instead the victims’ funds were misappropriated and used to make Ponzi-type payments to some of the investors.
The victims provided a total of more than $7 million in investment money to the defendants, and Rossini fraudulently pocketed more than $2.5 million of it.
A separate federal jury in 2019 convicted the Khoshabes for their roles in the scheme. They are awaiting sentencing.
A fourth defendant, Chicago attorney THOMAS MURPHY, claimed to validate the sale of the mortgage notes through a phony “Guaranty Agreement” that he prepared and gave to Rossini to present to the victims. Murphy pleaded guilty and admitted his role in the scheme. He is awaiting sentencing.