A man described in Chicago media as a “Robin Hood” banker was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for his fraudulent activities at a local bank.
Jeffrey Gonsiewski, formerly the vice president of the loan department at First Security Trust & Savings Bank in suburban Elmwood Park, pled guilty to the charge of bank fraud in August. District Judge Elaine Bucklo handed down the sentence on Tuesday.
According to the FBI, Gonsiewski “altered loan documents to make it appear that customers’ payments were current when he knew they were actually overdue, which prevented the bank from taking timely action to collect delinquent loans and protect its assets.”
In other words, when his clients were underwater with their mortgages, he told the bank they were up-to-date in order to buy them more time to pay, keeping First Security from “protecting its assets” by foreclosing on their houses. His actions cost the bank, part of the sprawling Wirtz family empire, $5.5 million.
Oddly enough, his lawyer chose to portray his actions as acts of stupidity:
In documents filed Monday with the court, Gonsiewski’s lawyer, Terrence LeFevour, said the crime on his client’s part was “an idiotic attempt to assist his clients, hoping that with extensions of their loans by deceit, eventually these clients would” repay the bank.
“By getting these people through the tough times, his thinking was the bank would ultimately come out better,” Gonsiewski’s lawyer wrote.
“As stupid as his plan can be judged, he never sought to profit from it,” his lawyer wrote.
There are certainly more charitable ways to describe his actions — “compassionate” springs to mind before “idiotic,” for instance.
Either way, Gonsiewski is facing a sentence of just over five years. The maximum for bank fraud is 30 years and a $1 million fine, but the sentencing is consistent with his plea agreement, which suggested a term of four to six.
Originally reported by Huffington Post Chicago. Read the original story here.