The man who owns the million dollar Park Ridge home where the body of a bankrupt Bridgeport bank chairman was discovered three years ago now faces criminal charges as the investigation into the “massive fraud” at the Washington Federal Bank for Savings is spreading.
The owner, Marek Matczuk, is among four new defendants in a 67-page indictment on Thursday. James R. Crotty, former vice president of the bank, and real estate developers Boguslaw Kasprowicz and Miroslaw Krejza are also named as new defendants.
It is the most detailed examination to date of what court records indicate as a complex scheme that siphoned tens of millions of dollars from neighborhood bank deposits. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. paid about $ 90 million to keep account holders free to the extent permitted by law after the bank went bankrupt.
The latest indictment exposes an elaborate embezzlement scheme led by John F. Gembara, the former bank chairman, managing director and chairman of the board – with the help of five key bank employees – which dates to at least 2004. The money was used to pay property taxes – owed by Matczuk, Kasprowicz and Krejza – and credit card bills and to purchase a luxury yacht, a Sea Ray 420 Sundancer boat named “Expelliarmus”.
Bank employees covered up the scheme by forging documents handed over to regulators, prosecutors said.
They say at least $ 31 million has been embezzled.
Attorney Robert Kowalski, who had previously been indicted in the case, Matczuk, Kasprowicz, Krejza and others received the embezzled money in the form of loans they did not have to repay, according to court records.
Prosecutors said Gembara and Kowalski also used embezzled money as part of an elaborate but unsuccessful scheme to develop properties in the Fulton Market area.
The case dates back to December 3, 2017, when Gembara’s body was found in Matczuk’s house. Gembara was found in a seated position, fully clothed, with his glasses and a green rope wrapped around his neck and wrapped around the balustrade of a spiral staircase.
The death was ruled a suicide. A few days later, federal regulators abruptly shut down the bank.
Records show that Matczuk obtained more than $ 2.8 million in unsecured loan advances between January 2013 and November 1, 2017. Matczuk had five outstanding mortgage loans from the federal government in Washington totaling nearly $ 2 million. at the time of Gembara’s death, covering his house and three other residential properties.
Crotty, who lives in Tinley Park, was fired from the bank in May 2017, shortly before regulators discovered the fraud scheme.
Kasprowicz obtained 93 loan advances totaling $ 9.3 million between January 2013 and November 13, 2017, according to an FDIC claim. Washington Federal also issued six mortgages totaling $ 2.4 million to Kasprowicz, including one for $ 750,000 on his house.
Matczuk’s attorney, Lawrence Hyman, called prosecutors’ latest decision an “unfortunate indictment” and said he expected his client to stand trial because he is innocent.
Lawyer Adam Sheppard, who represents Kasprowicz, said there was a chance his client would stand trial. He said Kasprowicz was a “victim of the president of the bank”.
Krejza’s attorney Brendan Shiller said: “This is one of the few instances where the federal government has crossed the line, and we believe Mr. Krejza will be cleared once all the facts come out.”
Crotty’s lawyer declined to comment.
The indictment comes about two years after the first criminal charges related to bank fraud were laid against Kowalski and his sister Jan Kowalski, who is also a lawyer. Prosecutors charged them in early 2019 concealment of assets in the bankruptcy case of Robert Kowalski.
Prosecutors expanded the case last year with an indictment that accused four former employees of the Gembara bank of helping Robert Kowalski and others embezzle at least $ 29 million.
This indictment last August added two of the bank’s former senior executives – Rosaallie Corvite, of Chicago, and Jane Iriondo, of Boise, Idaho – on the list of defendants along with Alicia Mandujano and Cathy Torres, both of Chicago.
In October, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ordered the imprisonment of Robert Kowalski for attempting to contact Gembara’s widow in connection with a legal action he brought to obtain the exhumation of the body of the president of the bank. Robert Kowalski has since been released but has again been threatened with jail for breaking the rules.
Among the others who received loans from the bank was Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) who obtained an $ 80,000 loan in October 2017, as regulators discovered financial irregularities within the bank. The loan was to repair the office of the 11th Ward Regular Democratic Organization at 3659 S. Halsted St.
And the Chicago Sun-Times reported a few days ago that Thompson bought a $ 340,000 Michigan summer home with a secret loan from the bank. Sources said the Sun-Times authorities discovered that Thompson made no payments on the loan or interest, but deducted the interest payments from his income taxes. Thompson has not been charged with any crime.