Former St. Louis Executive of Chicago-Area Company Pleads Guilty in $3.9 Million Invoicing Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 30, 2013|
CHICAGO—A former vice president of a company that was based in west suburban Downers Grove pleaded guilty today to engaging in a fraudulent invoicing scheme in which he obtained more than 100 company checks totaling more than $3.9 million and stole the money for himself. The defendant, Steven M. Brazile, admitted the fraud at his arraignment after being charged earlier this month in U.S. District Court.
Brazile, 52, of St. Louis, was a vice president in the unnamed company’s St. Louis office where he managed the information technology functions in that office. He pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained securities. He was released on his own recognizance pending sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo set for November 13.
Brazile faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although his plea agreement with the government anticipates an advisory federal sentencing guidelines range of 57 to 71 months in prison. Brazile also agreed to restitution and forfeiture orders in the amount of $3,902,880, including approximately $126,000 seized from Brazile’s bank accounts, an antique1959 Ford F100 pickup truck seized from Brazile, and $79,545 in proceeds from the sale of a 1965 Ford Tudor classic automobile.
Brazile, who had authority to approve company payments to vendors up to $100,000, admitted that between December 2006 and December 2009, he approved false invoices purporting to be from vendors for goods and services that were never provided to the corporation. He caused the company to issue approximately 104 checks totaling slightly more than $3.9 million. Brazile took those checks and stole the proceeds by depositing them into a bank account he controlled. He then deposited the fraud proceeds into other accounts, including $250,000 placed into a brokerage account which he agreed to forfeit.
The guilty plea was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Streicker.
The case falls under the umbrella of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit: StopFraud.gov.