Patrick Daley Thompson lied to feds to hide how much he borrowed from bankrupt Bridgeport Washington Federal Bank for Savings, prosecutor Brian Netols says

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Aldus. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) lied to federal agents, trying to cover up he owed $219,000 to a Bridgeport bank the government shut down for massive fraud, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday, beginning to expose the case of income tax fraud against the first member of the Daley family to stand trial.

When Thompson received a statement from a lender saying he owed $269,000 for money he had borrowed from the Washington Federal Bank for Savings, “He phoned and expressed shock at the statement of loan mortgage he received,” Assistant District Attorney Brian Netols said. in his opening statement.

“He told them he only borrowed $110,000,” Netols told jurors. “He told them he wanted to settle the matter quickly.”

Previewing Thompson’s defense, his attorney Christopher Gair told jurors that the Chicago City Councilman had forgotten the exact amount he received from Washington’s federal CEO John Gembara, who was found dead days before. that federal regulators shut down the bank on December 15, 2017.

“The government’s evidence is that they think he should have remembered that,” Gair said. “He is charged with a felony for not remembering the exact amount.”

Thompson is also charged with tax evasion for filing five years of federal tax returns in which records show he claimed he made interest payments he never paid on money he got from Gembara bank.

Netols told jurors that Thompson should have known that the tax returns prepared by his accountants were based on fraudulent documents.

“He never told them he didn’t make payments to Washington Federal,” the prosecutor said. “And he never told them he didn’t have a Washington Federal mortgage. Without these two things, these tax returns are false.

Gair told jurors that Thompson was so busy handling zoning cases for clients of his private law firm while representing the 11th Ward that he had no time to review the tax returns he received. and his wife had filed with the Internal Revenue Service between 2013 and 2017, when they paid $882,000 in taxes.

“When you pay $822,000 in taxes, you probably wouldn’t notice that there was a $3,000 a year deduction that you weren’t entitled to,” Gair said. “When he found out, he did what any honest person would do: he changed his tax returns. He repays this amount which was mistakenly deducted on his tax returns – $15,000.

Thompson’s attorney said: ‘It’s not a crime to get a number wrong. It is not a crime to make a mistake. You will find no evidence that Mr. Thompson intended to cheat on his taxes.

The lawyers’ opening statements could be followed Tuesday by testimony from several witnesses.

On Monday, a jury of four men and eight women was chosen to hear the case against Thompson, who was charged in April 2021 with filing false federal income tax returns for the years 2013 to 2017 and lying to federal regulators about the amount of money he owed. Washington Fed.

Among those who could testify on Tuesday is Alicia Mandujano, a longtime federal worker from Washington who pleaded guilty last month as part of the massive fraud authorities say they uncovered at the bank.

Other potential witnesses include Thompson’s accountant Robert Hannigan of Bansley & Kiener and other current and former members of the accounting firm.

Mandujano’s plea agreement says Gembara, who was also the bank’s chairwoman and major shareholder, had ordered her for years to alter the bank’s books to falsely appear that Thompson had made payments on a loan .

Hannigan gave surprise testimony at a hearing last month about a note he found that said he first talked with Thompson about changing the tax returns at issue in the lawsuit. after federal agents showed up at Thompson’s home in December 2018.

Gembara was found dead in December 2017 at the million-dollar Park Ridge home of bank client and friend Marek Matczuk.

The bank was shut down by federal regulators the same month.

That’s when investigators began to unravel the fraud they believe led to the disappearance of nearly $90 million.

The investigation has so far led to criminal charges against 15 people, including Thompson, Mandujano and Matczuk.

According to her indictment, Thompsone received three payments totaling $219,000 from the bank between 2011 and 2014 through an alleged loan and other unsecured payments.

Prosecutors say he only made one payment on the loan and paid no interest.

After the bank closed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. tried to collect the money from Thompson, and prosecutors say that’s when he lied about how much he owed.

Gair, a former federal prosecutor, said Thompson did not pay interest on Washington’s federal loan because he expected to refinance the debt with the mortgages on his home and rental property and tried to several times to gain Gembara’s approval.

The bank gave Thompson $110,000 in November 2011, $20,000 in March 2013 and $89,000 in January 2014.

Gair said Thompson “just forgot” about the second and third payments when he told regulators in February 2018 and March 2018 that he only owed $110,000.

Gair said Thompson also didn’t realize his accountants had used interest forms wrongly sent by the Washington Federal to claim a mortgage interest deduction on his tax returns year after year. Gair even went so far as to write that “Mr. Thompson’s lack of organization and lack of attention to detail in his personal financial affairs are central to his defense.

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