The Chicago Syndicate

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Former Operator of Suburban Chicago Strip Club Charged With Underreporting Corporate Income Taxes #IRS

The former operator of a suburban Chicago nightclub has been charged in federal court with assisting in the preparation and submission of false corporate income tax returns for six years.

Alicia Arnold willfully assisted in the preparation and submission of false and fraudulent income tax returns for the calendar years 2012 to 2017 for Arnie’s Idle Hour, the nightclub Arnold operated in Harvey, Ill., according to a criminal information filed Feb. 5, 2021, in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Each of the false tax returns substantially underreported the nightclub’s gross receipts and sales, the information states.

Arnold, 51, of Las Vegas, Nev., and formerly of Homer Glen, Ill., pleaded not guilty today at her arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert. A status hearing was set for March 3, 2021, at 10:30 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Jorge L. Alonso.


Friday, February 05, 2021

Sam McCann, @mccann_sam, Former Illinois State Senator, Gubernatorial Candidate, Indicted for Alleged Fraudulent Use of Campaign Funds, Money Laundering, Tax Evasion

Sam McCann

A grand jury indicted former Illinois State Senator Sam McCann on charges of fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion related to his alleged misuse of campaign money for personal expenses. The indictment alleges that from May 2015 to June 2020, McCann engaged in a scheme to convert more than $200,000 in contributions and donations made to his campaign committees to pay himself and make personal purchases, and that he concealed his fraud from donors, the public, the Illinois State Board of Elections and law enforcement authorities.

The indictment was announced by Central District of Illinois U.S. Attorney John C. Milhiser; FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox, Springfield Division; and, IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge David Talcott, St. Louis Field Office.

William Samuel McCann, Jr., 51, of Plainview, Ill., served as a state senator for the 49th District of Illinois from 2011 to 2013, and for the redrawn 50th District from 2013 to January 2019. McCann formed the Conservative Party of Illinois and in 2018, launched an unsuccessful bid for Illinois Governor. McCann previously lived in Carlinville, Ill., and owned and operated two construction related businesses.

McCann organized multiple political committees that were registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections: Sam McCann for Senate; Sam McCann for Senate Committee; McCann for Illinois; and, Conservative Party of Illinois. According to the indictment, from April 2011 to November 2018, McCann and his political committees received more than $5 million in campaign donations.

The indictment alleges multiple instances when McCann used campaign funds to purchase personal vehicles, pay personal debts, make mortgage payments, and pay himself, including the following:

  • McCann allegedly used more than $60,000 in campaign funds to partially fund the purchases of a 2017 Ford Expedition in April 2017 and a 2018 Ford F-250 truck in July 2018, which he titled in his own name and used for his personal travel. McCann then used campaign funds for loan payments on the F-250 and for fuel and insurance expenses for both vehicles, while at the same time using campaign funds to reimburse mileage expense claims which he did not incur.
  • In April 2018, McCann allegedly used $18,000 in campaign funds to purchase a 2018 recreational travel trailer, and in May 2018, used $25,000 in campaign funds to buy a 2006 recreational motor home, both of which McCann titled in his personal name.
  • McCann established an online account with a recreational vehicle rental business in Ohio and listed the vehicles for rent identifying Sam McCann as the owner. McCann then established a second account with the same rental business and identified himself as William McCann, a potential renter, with a different residential address and email than those he listed as the owner. From approximately May 2018 to June 2018, McCann, while representing himself as the renter, William, rented both the travel trailer and motor home from Sam, the owner, through the RV rental business. McCann caused a total of approximately $62,666 in campaign funds be used to pay the rental cost of the vehicles. The rental business retained approximately $9,838 for commission and paid McCann, as the owner, approximately $52,827 by direct deposit to McCann’s personal checking account. McCann reimbursed the campaign accounts $18,000, resulting in more than $77,000 in campaign funds used to buy and rent from himself.
  • On or about Oct. 4, 2016, McCann allegedly used a $20,000 cashier’s check funded by a campaign account and issued to himself to pay off a personal loan, including legal fees, that had originally been issued to him as an equipment loan in 2011 and was in collection by the bank due to non-payment.
  • From May 2015 to August 2020, McCann allegedly used campaign funds to pay approximately $64,750 on two separate personal mortgage loans that were secured by his former residence in Carlinville and an adjoining property used as an office for his construction business.
  • In November 2018, after an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Illinois, when he was no longer a candidate for office and did not financially support any other candidate, and continuing to June 2020, McCann allegedly caused the Conservative Party of Illinois to issue approximately $187,000 in payments to himself personally and an additional $52,282 in payments for payroll taxes. Using a payroll service, McCann was allegedly able to conceal himself as the payee for the expenditures from the campaign account.
  • The indictment also alleges that approximately $50,000 in campaign funds were used for personal expenses including Green Dot credit card payments related to a family vacation in Colorado and other personal expenses, charges from Apple iTunes, Amazon, a skeet and trap club, Cabela’s, Scheels, Best Buy, a gun store, and cash withdrawals.

In addition to wire fraud and money laundering, the indictment charges McCann with one count of tax evasion related to his joint return for calendar year 2018. McCann allegedly failed to report income from his 2018 rental payments to himself for the RV trailer and motor home. In addition, in March 2018, McCann used a $10,000 check issued by a campaign account to make a down payment to a Shipman, Ill., business for a motor home. When the purchase was not completed, the business issued a $10,000 refund check payable to William McCann, which he deposited to his personal checking account and failed to report as income received.

McCann is scheduled to appear via telephone conference on Feb. 16, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins for arraignment.

For the period of the alleged fraud scheme, from May 2015 to June 2020, the estimated loss is more than $200,000. If convicted, the statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud (seven counts) and one count of money laundering is up to 20 years in prison. For tax evasion, the statutory penalty is up to five years in prison.


Thursday, February 04, 2021

A @USMarshalsHQ Deputy Was Shot and the Suspect was Killed by Return Fire #BREAKING

A U.S. Marshals Service deputy was shot and wounded and a suspect was killed Thursday morning while law enforcement officers served an arrest warrant in Baltimore, authorities said.

The suspect was shot by return fire and died after the shooting, which occurred about 6:15 a.m., Baltimore police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said in an email.

The Marshals Service tweeted that the deputy was taken to a Baltimore hospital with serious injuries and was recovering from surgery. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the deputy and his family during this tragic time," the agency said.

The shooting occurred while members of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force were serving an arrest warrant on a suspect wanted for armed robbery and attempted murder, the Marshals Service said.

No other details were immediately available. The Marshals Service did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking additional information.

"We are gathering more details and will have further updates later," the agency tweeted.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Strongmen - Mussolini to the Present, by Expert Author Ruth Ben-Ghiat @RuthBenGhiat

What modern authoritarian leaders have in common (and how they can be stopped).

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the "strongman" playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin—enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America. In Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future.

For ours is the age of authoritarian rulers: self-proclaimed saviors of the nation who evade accountability while robbing their people of truth, treasure, and the protections of democracy. They promise law and order, then legitimize lawbreaking by financial, sexual, and other predators.

They use masculinity as a symbol of strength and a political weapon. Taking what you want, and getting away with it, becomes proof of male authority. They use propaganda, corruption, and violence to stay in power.

Vladimir Putin and Mobutu Sese Seko’s kleptocracies, Augusto Pinochet’s torture sites, Benito Mussolini and Muammar Gaddafi’s systems of sexual exploitation, and Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump’s relentless misinformation: all show how authoritarian rule, far from ensuring stability, is marked by destructive chaos.

No other type of leader is so transparent about prioritizing self-interest over the public good. As one country after another has discovered, the strongman is at his worst when true guidance is most needed by his country.

Recounting the acts of solidarity and dignity that have undone strongmen over the past 100 years, Ben-Ghiat makes vividly clear that only by seeing the strongman for what he is—and by valuing one another as he is unable to do—can we stop him, now and in the future.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Did Larry Hoover Promote 2 Gangster Disciples to Board Members?

Imprisoned Gangster Disciples founder Larry Hoover, who says he’s no longer involved with the gang and is asking for an early release from his life sentence, promoted two men to top posts in the gang while locked up in a federal “super-max” prison in Colorado, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in East St. Louis.

The indictment says the two men threatened to kill anyone who challenged their authority and, on May 18, 2018, shot and killed a rival Gangster Disciples board member on the South Side of Chicago.

Hoover — whom prosecutors have called “the most notorious gang leader in Chicago’s modern history” — isn’t charged in the indictment, which targets leaders of the Gangster Disciples in downstate Illinois and eastern Missouri in a racketeering case that includes two murders.

Hoover has asked a federal judge in Chicago to reduce his life sentence under a reform measure called the federal First Step Act, which allows people convicted of crack-cocaine offenses to challenge their sentences in light of subsequent changes in federal sentencing guidelines. Other high-ranking members of the gang have been released from prison under the same law. But U.S. Attorney John Lausch urged U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber last year to keep Hoover in federal prison for the rest of his life. The judge hasn’t ruled.

If Leinenweber decides Hoover has served enough time in federal prison under the life term he was handed in 1997 for running a criminal enterprise, Hoover still faces a 200-year Illinois state court sentence from 1973 for ordering the killing of a gang member he suspected was stealing from him.

Hoover attorney Justin Moore said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of the new indictment and questioned the idea that Hoover could have been involved in gang affairs from behind bars. “It seems almost impossible that he would be able to communicate that to anyone if he were trying to,” he said.

Moore questioned why prosecutors — who previously have said they suspected Hoover was still involved in the gang — hadn’t brought up the latest accusation during arguments over Hoover’s bid for a reduced sentence. “This is a 70-year-old man in the twilight of his years who has serious medical complications and is seeking release to finally be with his wife, children and grandchildren after nearly 50 years of separation,” Moore said. “To have his name continuously thrown into the affairs of others and to be used as a scapegoat for criminal activity he has no connection to needs to cease.”

The new indictment says one member of the gang, Anthony Dobbins, told another, Warren “Big Head” Griffin, in September 2014 that Hoover had appointed them as “board members” — the highest rank in the gang’s leadership.

It also says Dobbins, 53, who’s from downstate Troy, a suburb of St. Louis, and Griffin, 51, from Lancaster, Kentucky, threatened to kill anyone who resisted their authority, though it doesn’t say how authorities got that information.

On May 18, 2018, Dobbins and Griffin shot and killed Earnest “Don Smokey” Wilson, 65, a rival Gangster Disciples board member, in the 7100 block of South Euclid Avenue in Chicago, according to the East St. Louis indictment.

Dobbins and Griffin were arrested later in 2018, Dobbins for drug possession and Griffin in a separate case for illegal possession of a gun.

Dobbins is being held in the same prison where Hoover is being held, the federal super-max in Florence, Colorado, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Griffin is in a federal prison in Kentucky.

According to the Chicago police, the Gangster Disciples and other big Chicago gangs have, over the past two decades, fragmented into factions that aren’t controlled at the top the way they used to be. About 900 gang factions operate in Chicago today, police say. But recent indictments against Gangster Disciples members downstate and in Atlanta suggest that the corporate structure of the gang has remained in place.

Thanks to Frank Main and Jon Seidel.


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