A press release from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez:
Two Suburban Men Charged With Stealing More Than $1 Million From Not-For-Profit Insurance Association
Bond was set at $ 1 million today for two suburban men charged with bilking an insurance industry association out of more than $ 1 million dollars in a scheme that spanned six years, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.
Harvey Cruz, 46, of Plainfield, and James Lurito, 63, of Algonguin, are each charged with one count of Felony Theft in excess of $500,000. Cruz is also facing an additional charge of Organizing a Continuing Financial Crimes Enterprise, a Class X Felony. All of the charges are non-probationable.
According to prosecutors, Cruz was the Information Technology Manager for the Million Dollar Round Table (MRDT), an insurance industry association made up of more than 30,000 of the top insurance producers worldwide. The agency conducts training seminars for members and also supports a philanthropic foundation.
Cruz had worked for MRDT for nine years before advancing to become the association’s I.T. Manager. In 2003, prosecutors allege that Cruz devised an embezzlement scheme and recruited Lurito, who operated an independent I.T. consulting firm, to participate.
To facilitate the scheme, prosecutors allege that Lurito would submit phony bills for I.T. work which would be personally approved by Cruz.
Per their arrangement, Lurito would then transfer 90% of the funds to Cruz or a company he controlled and keep the remainder for himself.
Prosecutors allege that the thefts occurred between 2003 and 2009 and totaled more than $1.1 million.
In 2009 the fraudulent payments were discovered and the organization contacted the Park Ridge Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Public Corruption and Financial Crimes Unit.
Cruz and Lurito were arrested yesterday and they appeared in bond court today at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Skokie, where Judge Timothy Chambers set bond for each man at $1 million. The next court date in the case was set for January 3.
The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.