An Illinois accountant was charged Tuesday with criminal fraud after allegedly stealing more than $65 million from his clients and financial institutions under the guise of investment opportunities.
According to the Department of Justice, he then used those stolen funds to purchase more than 25 homes and 60 guns.
Sultan Issa, 45, a certified public accountant, luxury dealership owner, and CFO of a Chicago family-owned group of partnerships and trusts, was charged with one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution for stealing millions and using them for personal expenses, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago.
If Issa is convicted, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
“From 2007 to 2017, Issa embezzled at least $55 million of the family’s assets and solicited at least another $8.8 million” from at least approximately 13 individual investors, claiming he would invest their money in legitimate business opportunities, like his luxury auto dealership in Burr Ridge, the complaint states.
In addition to using the money for personal expenses, Issa secured fraudulent loans from several financial institutions—the loans totaling to at least $83 million—to buy over 25 homes in Illinois, Montana, Michigan, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, two private planes, four yachts, over 60 firearms, and assorted watches, jewelry and memorabilia, the complaint reads.
He also stole $15 million “to pay expenses related to the auto dealership, including the purchase of a showroom, the acquisition of luxury cars, and the salaries of employees.”
When his money started to run out, the Chicago accountant used some of his 25 homes as collateral to gain access higher lines of credit.
To conceal his multi-pronged scheme, prosecutors allege, Issa provided financial institutions with fake loan documents and forged signatures to gain funds belonging to the family-owned group, which is not identified.
“Issa also created false account statements and made Ponzi-type payments to individual investors, the information states,” the complaint states.