CHICAGO — A former Illinois accountant has been sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison for misappropriating more than $77 million from individuals and financial institutions.
SULTAN ISSA, 47, of Hinsdale, pleaded guilty earlier this year to wire fraud affecting a financial institution. U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood imposed the 200-month sentence Monday in federal court in Chicago. Judge Wood also ordered Issa to pay more than $72 million in restitution to the victims.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Fluhr.
Issa was a certified public accountant and the Chief Financial Officer of a group of partnerships, corporations, and trusts owned by a Chicago-area family. From 2010 to 2017, he embezzled at least $45 million of the family’s assets, including money Issa stole from a trust account that was set up to pay medical expenses for a family member suffering from an incapacitating illness. Issa also fraudulently obtained at least another $5.1 million from individuals in his personal capacity, claiming he would invest their money in legitimate opportunities, including a luxury auto dealership Issa owned in Burr Ridge.
Issa used fraud proceeds to cover personal expenses and to secure fraudulent loans from financial institutions totaling at least $83 million to acquire, among other things, 25 residential properties in Illinois, Montana, Michigan, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, two private aircraft, four yachts, approximately 60 firearms, and assorted watches, jewelry, and memorabilia.
Issa attempted to conceal the scheme by providing financial institutions with fraudulent loan documents and forging authorizations to gain control of funds belonging to the family-owned group. Issa also created false account statements and made Ponzi-type payments to individual investors.