Yale Schiff, 44, Riverwoods, Illinois, a north suburban businessman has been indicted on Wednesday, on bank fraud and identity theft charges for allegedly fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in mortgage and vehicle loans and using stolen identities to secure credit from financial institutions.
Schiff made false statements in loan applications to obtain mortgage loans secured by a variety of properties, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The charges allege that Schiff filed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds fraudulent letters from financial institutions claiming that loans on the properties were paid in full and that the mortgages were released, when, in fact, the loans were not paid in full and the mortgages had not been released. Schiff then kept the financing paid by the banks, as well as proceeds from the eventual sales of the properties, without paying the mortgages, the indictment states.
The identity theft charges pertain to Schiff’s alleged use of multiple fake and stolen identities to fraudulently obtain loans for vehicles, including a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Lexus RX350. The indictment accuses Schiff of submitting to the Recorder’s office fake letters from financial institutions and false releases of the vehicle liens, claiming that the loans were paid in full. In reality, Schiff knew the letters were bogus and that the loans were not paid in full, the indictment states. Schiff then allegedly sold the vehicles, keeping the proceeds without paying the loans.
Schiff also used stolen identities to obtain lines of credit and credit cards, including a charge card at Nordstrom department store that he used for personal use, the indictment states. He then allegedly left large unpaid balances on the cards and the credit lines.
The charges allege that three of Schiff’s relatives and a business associate aided him in the schemes. The indictment seeks forfeiture of a personal money judgment of approximately $4.7 million, as well as a property in Riverwoods.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Craig Goldberg, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri H. Mecklenburg.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each bank fraud count is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, while each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.