Monday, June 30, 2008

Former Trustee Indicted for Alleged $6 Million Theft from Charity

The Chicago Tribune reports that the federal government has indicted Dr. Robert Weinstein for conspiring to steal millions from the Northshore Supporting Organization, a charity formed ostensibly to support the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago.  Dr. Weinstein served as a trustee of both organizations and allegedly worked with Stuart Levine, the government's star witness in its case against Illinois political fundraiser and insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko, to divert $6 million from the Supporting Organization using a Scandinavian accomplice, fake contributions to the University, and sealed promissory notes. 

According to the U.S. Attorney's press release and the indictment, Weinstein and Levine caused the Supporting Organization to transfer $3 million each to them in return for promissory notes that neither of them intended to repay.  They managed to buyback the notes for only $1 million through a complicated scheme involving the University, an intermediary, and sealed envelopes holding the notes but which the University was not permitted to open.  According to the indictment a third charity, identified only as IDDRS, was allegedly the original source of the $6 million ultimately diverted from the Supporting Organization, and Dr. Weinstein was the president and sole director of IDDRS. 

Weinstein and Levine also allegedly used their positions as University trustees to try to require a developer working with the University to pay 20 percent of the developer's net profits their designee, who was then to transfer some or all of that amount to them.  Finally, Weinstein is also charged with having lied to an FBI agent during the course of the Rezko investigation.  The specific federal charges against Dr. Weinstein are wire fraud, mail fraud and making false statements. 

The press release and the indictment are available through the U.S. Attorney's Chicago Press Room website. 


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