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This just in… Rep. Ford indicted for bank fraud

Thursday, Nov 29, 2012

* 2:22 pm - From the US Attorney’s office…

LaShawn K. Ford, an Illinois State Representative who also invested in real estate in Chicago, was indicted today on federal bank fraud and related charges for allegedly fraudulently obtaining a $500,000 increase and a two-year extension on a line of credit from the failed ShoreBank and obtaining multiple advances by making false statements about his intended use of the funds.

Ford, 40, of Chicago, who operated Ford Desired Real Estate, Inc., and also invested personally in real estate, purportedly obtained bank funds to rehabilitate specific investment properties in the city, but instead used the funds to pay unrelated expenses, including, car loans, credit cards, other mortgages held at ShoreBank, payments to a casino in Hammond, Ind., and for his 2006 campaign for Illinois State Representative, the indictment alleges. The charges do not involve Ford’s position as a state legislator after he was first elected in 2006. Ford represents Illinois’ 8th House District, which includes portions of Chicago’s west side and several western suburbs in Cook County.

Ford was charged with eight counts of bank fraud and nine counts of submitting false information to the bank in a 17-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury. Chicago-based ShoreBank failed in August 2010 and now operates as Urban Partnership Bank.

Ford will be arraigned on a later date to be determined in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The indictment was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the indictment, Ford had multiple loans with ShoreBank, including a $1 million line of credit, which he was permitted to use solely to purchase and rehabilitate investment properties. On May 22, 2006, he obtained a $500,000 increase — to $1.5 million, and a two-year extension of the credit line, allegedly by submitting false tax return documents that inflated his personal and business income.

On seven different occasions between April 2006 and March 2007, Ford applied for and obtained a total of $373,500 in advances from the credit line, allegedly by making false statements that he intended to use the funds to rehabilitate six different investment properties on the city’s west side. In each instance, however, Ford allegedly knew that he intended to use the funds, in part, for expenses unrelated to the specific rehabilitation projects.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $832,000.

Each count of bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg Deis and William Ridgway.

The investigation falls under the umbrella of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit: www.StopFraud.gov.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

* 2:27 pm - The indictment is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

57 Comments
  1. - JoeSmithStClair - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    Maybe he and Derrick Smith will caucus together…


  2. - Bluefish - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:29 pm:

    This should have come out before the election so that voters could have made an informed decision…ummmm….never mind.


  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    That’s a lot of money.


  4. - Just Observing - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:39 pm:

    I’m not excusing him, but it doesn’t seem like the crime of the century. It’s not like he stole money or took bribes. However, admittedly, I’m not very well versed on financial transactions and the damage could be worse.


  5. - Ambien and Malice - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:39 pm:

    so if convicted, he should keep his state legislator’s pension since the crimes of which he is accused don’t involve his duties as a legislator.


  6. - Backwards - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:40 pm:

    ShoreBank defrauded? Now there’s a turn of the tables.


  7. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:48 pm:

    You mean the guy that embraced Smith on his first day back since his arrest and later voted against his expulsion? Huh.


  8. - SouthernIL - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:54 pm:

    An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. … Keep that in mind, please.


  9. - Dirt Diver - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:55 pm:

    They only thing that surprises me is that a bank lended him that kind money. I’m guessing he will refuse to resign as well.


  10. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:59 pm:

    Further review: he voted present on Smith. So he took the option for legislators that may have a conflict of interest.


  11. - reformer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:03 pm:

    will the Derick Smith precedent be applied to LaShawn?


  12. - huh - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:04 pm:

    Who was the victim? I guess the bank must be pushing federal prosecutors to use their considerable resource to pursue this case.


  13. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:10 pm:

    Isn’t ShoreBank Alexi’s outfit?


  14. - Downstate - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:11 pm:

    Whether guilty or innocent, it only insures his future election victories. It’s better than being a war hero.


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:14 pm:

    What the hell?!?!?!!?


  16. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:14 pm:

    == It’s not like he stole money or took bribes.==

    Actually, it’s exactly like he stole money. He is being accused of stealing $373,500. If someone got you to loan them $1000 under false pretenses and did not pay it back, you would say they stole the money.


  17. - Frank - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:15 pm:

    Six years ago…what’s the statute of limitations? Must last a lot longer on the federal side.

    Hate to see it. A nice guy.


  18. - Ann - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:16 pm:

    Damn. I thought of him as a relatively well-intentioned and serious legislator–a fairly rare breed. I’m glad, at least, that this doesn’t appear to be connected to his work in the legislature.


  19. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===Who was the victim?===

    We all were victims via the FDIC, which had to cover $367 million when Shorebank failed.

    And Cinci, Shorebank is not connected in any way to Giannoulias. But nice attempted smear.


  20. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    [Expletives deleted]


  21. - train111 - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:33 pm:

    At this rate the indicted caucus will soon surpass the GOP caucus in size!!

    train111


  22. - Langhorne - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:37 pm:

    If he used the money to finance his campaign, doesn’t that slop over to his legislative duties? Or is it ok to steal from a bank to become a legislator–and then keep the GA pension?


  23. - Will Caskey - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    Now that’s liberal values at work: stealing from banks instead of taxpayers for a change. Progress!


  24. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:46 pm:

    Its open season on black male politicians in Chicago. Yet Daley, Ed Burke still walk around free as a bird.


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:55 pm:

    Casey, go peddle that tripe to Rod Blagojevich. Or George Ryan. Or Eddie Vrdolyak.
    I would say that it’s “open season” on crooked politicians and the USAO has complied with all applicable AA/EEO guidelines when dropping the big hammer.
    I wonder if this would have come out had the bank not failed?


  26. - Just Observing - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:04 pm:

    === Actually, it’s exactly like he stole money. He is being accused of stealing $373,500. If someone got you to loan them $1000 under false pretenses and did not pay it back, you would say they stole the money. ===

    Pot… Yes, I admitted in my original post that I’m not very familiar with these issues and there are aspects that I might not understand. That said, where is it alleged that he stole the money (i.e, not making payments on his loan). I guess I understand a bit more the damage to the bank and the taxpayers for lying about the intended use of the funds, but I still haven’t seen that he hasn’t been making his payments.


  27. - Leave a Light on George - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:04 pm:

    Those darn feds - entrapping another state rep.


  28. - siriusly - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:09 pm:

    I actually think they won’t expel Rep. Ford because a lot of members like him and also because this crime is actually not related to his official duties as a legislator, unlike Smith’s.

    BUT - people will be keeping their distance from a guy facing this kind of time no doubt.

    “Each count of bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.” wow um wow


  29. - J - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:17 pm:

    Why does the USA always release the indictments on Thursday afternoons?


  30. - M O'Malley - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:24 pm:

    You’d think the bank should have done more due diligence…
    Oh, that’s right, we’ll just give anybody money and then have the feds bail us out…


  31. - anon for a reason - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:24 pm:

    I smell a deal.
    How did he know real estate was going to tank?


  32. - Levois - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:30 pm:

    “And Cinci, Shorebank is not connected in any way to Giannoulias. But nice attempted smear.”

    It was quite uninformed. “Nice” indeed!

    And this shocked me when I first saw the news of this indictment.


  33. - Debbie Reynolds (no relation to Mel) - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:32 pm:

    You know dear…there’s a scene from the movie “Crash” which addresses this situation perfectly.


  34. - Lobo y Olla - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:33 pm:

    Again. And again. And again. It’s like Groundhog Day at the Capitol. Wow.


  35. - Jaded - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:42 pm:

    Ford has already scheduled a constituent meeting for tonight and tomorrow to address the charges. So he is not running from it.


  36. - cassandra - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:45 pm:

    He didn’t rep my part of Oak Park, but I kind of liked him. Sigh.


  37. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:57 pm:

    Senator Clay Davis should recognize the charge–it’s the silver bullet from the Wire and it brings down a lot of dumb criminals. When you falsify your income on a loan from a federally backed financial institution, you are committing a federal crime.


  38. - mokenavince - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:01 pm:

    Lets elect Senator Clay Davis for the job he’s sounds more than qualified.

    Clay Davis our kind of guy.Vote early and offend for OUR GUY CLAY.


  39. - Johnny Justice - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:05 pm:

    Now we know why Shore Bank went belly up…loaning more and more $$ to LaShawn after he apparently wasn’t paying back when he had already borrowed! It could be that when LaShawn borrowed the $$, he fully intended to use it to rehab the buildings, but then got caught in a financial bind and wound up spending the money in other ways. Why didn’t the bank just try to collect the $$ from him? With all the really serious crimes out there, seems like a big waste of prosecutorial resources.


  40. - Crime Fighter - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:27 pm:

    Smith & Ford are just the ones who got caught. These are the guys that make the laws we are held to. Welcome to Illinois.


  41. - just asking - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:34 pm:

    Isn’t the standard to expel him now and ask questions later.


  42. - Shorebank got me also - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:39 pm:

    everyojne on here who commented probably has an upside down mortgage that they are complaining about. Shorebank has a habit of passing the buck in the blame game and to push an indictment for getting an overvalued bankloan by them is the pot calling the kettle black. I’ll probably get in trouble again for saying this.


  43. - amalia - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:41 pm:

    oh for the love of ……. get a grip, electeds. this is just sickening.


  44. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:42 pm:

    Cincy had the right party but the wrong pol, make that pols. Using the Google brings back some nasty memories of all the A-list Dems who threw their weight around on behalf of this train wreck with a check printer that shoulda been shut down years before it finally cratered. The always stellar IFA actually considered dumping State dough in this hot mess.

    To answer my own previous question, after using the Google
    for awhile I suspect that the failure(s) drew in the G and Rep. Ford was, eh, collateral damage.


  45. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:56 pm:

    I wonder if ShoreBank had not failed, if this would have become a Federal case, rather than a messy loan-loss recovery.

    I wonder how many hundreds of real estate developers and investors got severely caught by the market crash, and tried to hold on by misleading their banks, until the market turned around.

    Which ShoreBank loan officer failed to visit the properties to check to see if any rehab was actually happening? That was SOP when I did this kind of lending.

    No excuses. It stinks.


  46. - antigambler - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 6:06 pm:

    If there had only been a casino in Chicago, the money that Rep. Ford gambled at the Hammond, IN casino could have stayed in Illinois. He might have even gone to a casino more often, and then even more money would have stayed in Illinois instead of going to some out-of-state credit card company, mortgage company, or car loan company!


  47. - Tony - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 7:59 pm:

    Not the meatiest indictment I’ve ever read. Don’t get me wrong, don’t mean to excuse this behavior. But methinks the feds — bank examiners and the FBI — worked their way through a bunch of dubious loans made by ShoreBank after it failed and one of them said “hey, I hear this Ford guy is a State Rep. Let’s go talk to him and see were it goes.”

    Then some G-men put a bunch of heat on Ford and tried to get him to give someone or something up or wear a wire around the capitol. My guess is Ford refused to cooperate and they indicted him.

    Don’t think he’s looking at serious time for this.


  48. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 8:15 pm:

    Friends, Tony is very astute IMHO.


  49. - reformer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 8:26 pm:

    17 counts and no serious time? Not unless there’s a heck of a plea bargain — or an acquittal.


  50. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 8:37 pm:

    First I want to thank Rich Miller for this outlet and everyone expressing their opinion!! I am a hard working Man that respect this country! I am glad there is a justice system! I respect playing by the rules!! I also know that I fight for justice for all and now I have a inside look at how I can serve more people. I just hope the house Speaker, members, and this situation allow me to continue to continue the work I have started. I respect the body and don’t want to be a distraction because the issues facing Illinois are great!


  51. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 8:53 pm:

    Rep. Ford


  52. - bored with press - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 9:06 pm:

    Ford has been a great public servant and works incredibly hard on legislation to help his constituents, many who have very difficult lives. He even posts job listings for his community. This is a loss to all of them, and I wish Rep. Ford the best. He is a kind and caring person.


  53. - Not a fan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 9:26 pm:

    After reading some of his comments in the Sun Times such as “I am not a bank fraud” and “My actions speak for itself” here’s hoping he doesn’t return to teaching…


  54. - bartelby - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 10:15 pm:

    geez. In 2006, I got a HELOC without any kind of credit check, bought a car, renovated my bathroom, and paid off some other debts. That’s the American way! True, it turned into a bad decision when the housing market crashed, but what I did wasn’t criminal. The way banks suckered us all into getting loans we couldn’t handle — that was criminal!


  55. - Johnny Justice - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 10:30 pm:

    To Not a fan: Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. Newspapers misquote people all the time!


  56. - Not a fan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 10:48 pm:

    If that’s true, then that Sun Times article contains quite a number of “misquotes” and retractions should be demanded immediately. Otherwise, I will assume he was quoted correctly.


  57. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 6:47 am:

    –Isn’t ShoreBank Alexi’s outfit?–

    Cincy, no it’s not. Thanks for bringing your usual high level of insight and knowledge to the table. Try the google next time.

    But I hear they’re gay, just like the GOP officeholders you don’t like and gossip about in ways that give a grown man pause.

    For the good of Dillard. That’s his problem, but I wouldn’t want you on my side.


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