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Cook County Judge convicted of federal loan fraud

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Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien was convicted of “fraudulently obtaining loans related to the purchase, maintenance and sale of properties on Chicago’s South Side,” per the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, on February 15.

O’Brien, of Chicago, was elected to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2012, but was removed form duties as a judge when she was indicted.

O’Brien, 50, was convicted of a count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution and another count of bank fraud. She faces up to 30 years in prison.

Between 2004 and 2007, O’Brien teamed with mortgage loan officer Maria Bartko and “a straw buyer whom O’Brien knew,” to allegedly defraud lenders into issuing and refinancing $1.4 million in mortgage and commercial loans “by making false representations and concealing material facts in documents submitted to the lenders.”

O’Brien used mortgage loans to purchase investment properties in Chicago, fraudulently obtained a commercial line of credit to maintain the properties, before selling them to Bartko, who would work with the straw buyer to obtain fraudulent mortgage loans.

Bartko pleaded guilty to a count of mail fraud and is awaiting sentencing.

O’Brien had work experience in financial institutions as a bank loan officer.

 

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