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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Wisconsin

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Middleton Lawyer Charged with Wire Fraud, Making a False Declaration in a Bankruptcy Matter and Identity Theft

MADISON, WIS. -- A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned the following indictment today.  You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.  If convicted, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Patrick S. Sweeney, 61, Middleton, Wis., is charged with wire fraud, making a false declaration in a bankruptcy matter, and identity theft.  The indictment alleges that from March 2007 and continuing until March 2011, Sweeney devised a scheme to defraud three limited liability companies in which he held a member’s ownership interest.  The three companies were Fairview Ridge, LLC; Fairview Ridge II, LLC; and Fairview Ridge III, LLC.   

The indictment alleges that in 2007, Sweeney approached the co-members of the companies and proposed that the companies loan $105,000 to $115,000 to a friend of Sweeney, with the loan purportedly to be secured by a home mortgage.  The indictment alleges that Sweeney did not loan the money to his friend, but instead began drawing on the companies’ bank accounts and converting the funds to his own use.  The indictment alleges that Sweeney drew checks totaling approximately $420,000 on the companies’ checking accounts, and when asked by a co-member for the original promissory note, Sweeney provided a false document bearing the forged signature of his friend.      

The second count of the indictment alleges that on February 14, 2013, Sweeney made a material false declaration in a bankruptcy matter.  The indictment alleges that he submitted a sworn List of Creditors which, in an effort to obtain a discharge in bankruptcy of his obligation to repay the funds he had embezzled, falsely listed the embezzled funds as “loans to debtor.”

The third count of the indictment alleges that in March 2011, Sweeney used a means of identification of another person during and in relation to a felony violation, the violation in Count One of the indictment.

If convicted, Sweeney faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud charge, five years on the making a false declaration in a bankruptcy proceeding charge, and two years on the identity theft charge.  The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation; and the U.S. Trustee’s Office.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Duchemin. 

Financial Fraud
Updated December 14, 2016