The president of a Bridgeport bank has for years asked a longtime employee to alter his books as part of a larger criminal plot to make Ald look falsely like now. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) made payments there on a loan, according to court records.
Now that worker, Alicia Mandujano, has become the first person to plead guilty following the massive investigation that has swirled for years since the failure of the Washington Federal Bank for Savings and the death of its chairman, John Gembara. both in 2017.
Mandujano pleaded guilty in a virtual hearing Wednesday to conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States. She admitted that, under Gembara’s direction, she helped cover up the embezzlement of $66 million from the bank founded in 1913.
The new allegations about Thompson are included in Mandjuano’s 27-page plea agreement. He alleges Thompson received three loan distribution checks from the bank between 2011 and 2014. On two occasions, at Gembara’s direction, he said Mandujano gave Thompson checks “that exceeded the principal amount on the note. of Thompson”.
On all three occasions, he added, Thompson collected Gembara’s checks from the bank.
Then, between 2012 and 2017, when Thompson failed to make monthly payments on the loan, Gembara asked Mandujano to alter the records to make it look like he had, “including advancing the payments interest and then adding those amounts to the principal balance of his loan,” according to the plea agreement.
Thompson was elected to city council in 2015.
“The Government’s summary in Ms. Mandujano’s plea agreement is very misleading because, as they well know from interview reports, Ms. Mandujano stated that Mr. Thompson would have no way of knowing that to false entries were being made on the Washington Federal books,” Chris Gair, Thompson’s defense attorney, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Furthermore, I would like to point out that Mr. Thompson is not accused of any wrongdoing with respect to the federal loan from Washington.”
Mandujano has a long history of cooperating with investigators investigating the bank’s failure, a move that will likely earn him a sentencing break. Meanwhile, at least two other former bank workers are expected to plead guilty ahead of Thompson’s trial, which is scheduled for February 4. Mandujano’s name appears on the prosecutors’ list of potential witnesses.
“This is a classic case of powerful men, whether in film, television or the banking industry, exerting control over women who had no say in the matter,” said l Mandujano’s lawyer, Victor Henderson. “The millions of dollars that were stolen went to the men. Bank tellers and low-level employees who were women were simply able to keep their jobs. Their alternative was to get fired for not following orders.
Thompson is accused of filing false tax returns and lying to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. His indictment says he received three payments totaling $219,000 from the bank between 2011 and 2014, through an alleged loan and other unsecured payments.
The feds say he only made one payment on a loan but paid no interest. Then, after federal regulators shut down the bank in December 2017, the FDIC attempted to recover Thompson’s money. The alderman allegedly lied about the amount he owed.
The indictment also alleged that Thompson claimed in federal tax returns for the years 2013 through 2017 that he paid more than $170,000 in mortgage interest. Washington Federal allegedly sent IRS forms to Thompson that incorrectly accounted for mortgage interest payments.
“The indictment is also misleading because, as the government is well aware, the total amount of federal interest from Washington allegedly deducted in error was $50,000,” Gair said. “As a result of these deductions over five years, Mr. Thompson, according to the government, underpaid approximately $3,000 per year, or less than 2% of the taxes he owed.
Regulators shut down Washington Federal less than two weeks after Gembara was found dead, sitting in a chair, with a rope around his neck, in the master bedroom of his bank client and friend’s $1 million Park Ridge home. , Marek Matczuk, who is also now facing federal charges.
Mandujano was working at an ice cream shop when she answered a newspaper advertisement for a position as a cashier at Bridgeport Bank in the summer of 1990. She was interviewed by Gembara’s sister, Janice Weston, and then trained by Gembara’s younger brother Robert, who has since retired as an Illinois State Trooper.
Mandujano rose through the ranks to become John Gembara’s secretary and later worked as a loan officer.
“I always reported to John Gembara,” Mandujano said in a deposition with attorneys from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was to cover $90 million in deposits from the bank’s embezzlement program.
During the April 9, 2019 deposition, Mandujano admitted to falsifying bank statements, describing how Gembara ordered him to copy and paste the signature of attorney Robert Kowalski, who was also charged, onto numerous bank documents.
Q. And did anyone else at the bank know that you were doing this?
Mandujano: No. Just John and myself.
Q. And no one in the audit department or in the accounting department?
Mandujano: No. Uh-uh. No, I had to close my office door and close the blinds and make sure to — lock my door.
Q. Who told you to do that?
Mandujano: John Gembara. Nobody was allowed to see me, I guess, doing that. He didn’t want anyone to know I was doing it.
An indictment alleged that Mandujano played a vital role in the embezzlement scheme by making false entries in bank records, using bank funds to pay clients’ property taxes, and then increasing the value of loans customers, providing falsified records to federal bank auditors, and transferring money to Kowalski, Thompson, and other bank customers who were charged with embezzlement.
Mandujano and her husband obtained eight mortgages from Gembara Bank, according to records filed with the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The bank also helped fund a sports bar that her husband owned, according to her deposition.