Former Elmwood Park Bank Vice President Pleads Guilty to $5.5 Million Fraud Scheme

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A former suburban bank vice president pleaded guilty today to federal fraud charges, admitting that he changed the terms of at least 100 loans for at least 50 customers and caused the bank to lose at least $5.5 million. Jeffrey Gonsiewski, formerly vice president of the loan department at First Security Trust and savings Bank in Elmwood Park, altered loan documents to make it appear that customers’ payments were current when he knew they were actually overdue, which prevented the bank from taking timely action to collect delinquent loans and protect its assets.

Gonsiewski, 56, of Wood Dale, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud after being charged last month. U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo set sentencing for Dec. 3. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, while a written plea agreement contemplates an advisory federal sentencing guideline range of 51 to 78 months in prison. The court also must order mandatory restitution.

According to a written plea agreement, between September 2004 and February 2009, Gonsiewski caused the bank to issue unsecured and under-secured loans by falsely representing that the loans were secured by adequate collateral even though he knew that the collateral was either nonexistent or insufficient to secure the loans. He also changed the terms and conditions of loans to conceal that payments were overdue; fraudulently caused the bank to cover checks totaling more than $2 million written on overdrawn accounts; and created false loan documents, including forging signatures.

The guilty plea was announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Stern.