Chaka Fattah, Jr. Convicted on Fraud and Tax Charges
PHILADELPHIA—A federal jury today convicted Chaka Fattah, Jr., 32, of Philadelphia, of 22 of 23 counts in connection with a scheme to defraud banks, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Philadelphia School District of hundreds of thousands of dollars. U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III scheduled a sentencing hearing for February 3, 2015. The defendant faces a substantial term of imprisonment, restitution to the IRS, fines, a special assessment, and supervised release.
Between 2005 and 2012, Fattah, Jr. made false statements to banks to obtain loans; made false statements to banks and the Small Business Administration to settle loans for less than what was owed; filed false federal income tax returns; failed to pay federal taxes; and stole from the Philadelphia School District, which had received federal funds for its operations.
Fattah, Jr., obtained numerous business lines of credit through false and fraudulent statements to local banks and used the funds primarily for personal expenses—including car payments, gambling debts, restaurant and club expenses, utilities, clothing, electronics, retail purchases, charitable donations, jewelry, legal fees, and personal credit card expenses—rather than business expenses, as the loan terms required. These false statements involved fictitious earnings information that Fattah, Jr., supplied for entrepreneurial companies which Fattah claimed he operated, including 259 Strategies, LLC (“259 Strategies”) and Chaka Fattah, Jr. & Associates. Fattah, Jr., claimed that 259 Strategies provided educational consulting, diversity consulting & audit services, technical assistance, and community relations, and organizational development services to a select group of clients. He claimed that Chaka Fattah, Jr. & Associates performed research and consulting concerning the development of computer centers.
In 2011, Fattah, Jr., received a loan from United Bank for $50,000 intended for “working capital to support business operations.” Instead, he used the funds to make car payments, to pay down over $15,000 in personal credit card debt, and to pay in excess of $33,000 in gambling debts at area casinos. The charges total approximately $206,000 in bank loans received through false misrepresentations or fraud.
Fattah, Jr., defaulted on several lines of credit and provided false information to two banks, to the United States Small Business Administration, which had insured the bank loans, and to a Small Business Administration investigator, to attempt to settle the debts for less than what was owed. Fattah, Jr., falsely claimed that 259 Strategies was out of business at the time he was attempting to settle his debts in 2010, and that he was earning only $2,500 per month. In fact, during 2010, Fattah, Jr.’s 259 Strategies was intact and, through this company, he was earning between $6,250 per month and approximately $37,500 per month.
Fattah, Jr., also stole funds supplied by the federal government to the Philadelphia School District, while acting as Chief Operating Officer of a Philadelphia company which provided educational services to “at risk” and other students through contracts with the school district. Fattah, Jr. provided false expense information and inflated salary figures for teachers and administrative staff on budgets submitted to the school district, which made payments consistent with the budgets provided and concealed the theft of the funds from the school district.
For tax years 2005, 2006, and 2008 Fattah, Jr., filed false federal income tax returns and he failed to timely pay federal income tax of approximately $51,141 on reported income in excess of $150,000 during 2010.
The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Education, with the cooperation of the Philadelphia School District’s Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul L. Gray and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Gibson.