$683,000 Gone, Fifth Third Bank Investment Advisor Indicted

From the U.S. Attorney:

Chicago Investment Advisor Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges for Allegedly Swindling Clients Out of $683,000 

CHICAGO — A Chicago investment advisor has been indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling three clients out of approximately $683,000.

DAVID SHELDON WELLS, 32, of Chicago, was charged with three counts of wire fraud in an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Arraignment is set for today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather K. McShain.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Douglas Zloto, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Chicago Field Office.  Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Havey.

According to the indictment, Wells worked as an investment advisor in the Chicago branch of a subsidiary of a Midwestern bank

In 2020 and 2021, Wells falsely represented to three clients, including two elderly men suffering from dementia, that he would invest their money in publicly traded companies. 

Based on the false representations, the clients sent him checks made payable to “Wayne and Stark,” which Wells claimed was a publicly traded company. 

In reality, Wayne and Stark was a shell company set up and solely controlled by Wells, the indictment states. 

Wells used the clients’ funds for his personal use, including rent and unauthorized trading in high-risk options contracts, the indictment states. 

Wells lost or otherwise spent all of the clients’ funds, the indictment states.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Trump v. Biden or Other Choices

WIND’a morning email has the following survey data:

Tribune headline.

Hill: Not many voters are looking forward to a potential rematch between President Biden and former President Trump, according to a survey released Sunday, even as both men ready their campaigns for a possible collision course. More Republicans and Democrats say their parties should nominate someone else for the 2024 race than believe it should be Trump and Biden. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats support the idea of nominating someone other than Biden, and 49 percent of Republicans want their nominee to be a figure other than Trump… In a hypothetical rematch, Trump held a 48 percent to 45 percent advantage over Biden (Hill).

ABC: Four in 10 Americans say they’ve gotten worse off financially since Joe Biden became president, the most in ABC News/Washington Post polls dating back 37 years. Political fallout includes poor performance ratings for Biden and a tight hypothetical Biden/Trump rematch next year (ABC).

Discussing Gun Control

A letter to the Northwest Herald from Tim Beck of McHenry, published with permission:

Word Manipulations

I want to point out three prominent “word manipulations” that people are using regarding a possible Resolution from the McHenry County Board on the Second Amendment.

The first is the use of the term Gun Sanctuary by opponents of the resolution.

Guns are inanimate objects and do not need sanctuary.

What is needed and what is being proposed is a Constitutional Safe Haven for law-abiding citizens of McHenry County.

The second is the use of the word assault as an adjective.

The word assault is primarily a verb or a noun.

A weapon does not assault anyone.

It is an evil person who assaults someone else.

Another word manipulation involves the attempt to change the subject.

Board member Gloria Van Hof has stated she would vote against any proposed resolution because “people do not need a high-intensity weapon.”

I would like to point out that there is a significant difference between needs and rights.

The Second Amendment explicitly states that our right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

Government officials like to unilaterally determine what our needs are.

History has shown that whenever We the People allow the government to determine what each and every person needs, then bad things oftentimes follow.

District 300 School Board Candidate Robert Reining Holding Algonquin Meet & Greet Tuesday Evening

From Algonquin School District 300 School Board candidate Robert Reining:

“I thought I would share a little bit about me and why I’m running for school board.

“I have been a resident of Lake in the Hills since 1999.

“I have two children one graduated from D300 and one still attends.

“I have been very fortunate over the years to volunteer in my kids classroom helping students with reading and math.

“I have never missed a end of the year field day and assisted the PTO as much as possibe.

“I have been very lucky to meet many great parents and teachers along the way.  

“I have been an auto mechanic for the past 30 years.

“In 2019 I enrolled at Harper College and work towards my welding certificate.  

“I am going to get my CDL with hazmat endorsement.

“I am a firm believer that college is not for everyone.

“I think that the high schools should encourage kids to also explore the trades. 

“The past few years has motivated me to get more involved.

“In 2022 I ran for the Mchenry County Board and unfortunately fell short of my goal in the primary.

“My heart and my drive has stayed firm.

“With the encouragement of many friends and parents in the district I decided to run for school board.

“I want To bring balance to the school board.

“I want to bring transparency, fiscal responsibility and the focus on education back to our district.

“I have and will continue to stand up for our kids, parents and taxpayers.  

“I will not vote for any tax increases whether it is by tax levy or referendum.  

“I will be the voice of reason on the board and not a go along to get along member.  

“I am not going to pretend to know all the answers but I will promise to do all the necessary research and listen to all the vested party’s  prior to my decisions.”

Ness Reports

Frm State Rep. Suzanne Ness:

Suzanne Ness

“This week was our first week in session for the 103rd General Assembly.

“As I type, we are debating the “House Rules” which determine how we do our jobs.

“We cannot start committees without the passage of our rules so this is necessary for us being able to get our work done.

“It is also the first time for me that I return to a role as an incumbent.

“As I look out from my seat, I see many new faces.

“We had a big turnover this session as former members retired, moved to other positions, or lost their elections.\” I’m looking forward to getting to know and work with our new legislators.

“Back in the District Office, I am excited about the programs we are planning, including the Hearts for Heroes Valentine’s Day event. We did this event for the first time last year, handing out homemade valentine’s day cards made by local children, for healthcare workers and it was such a positive experience, we decided to do it again. This year we have even more partners helping us show our love to those that work hard to keep us healthy and safe all year long.

“This month is also Black History Month and we will be featuring highlights throughout the month in honor of the contributions of African Americans who may not be known to many of us.

“As my colleague Representative Cyril L Nichols, stated on the House Floor ‘There is no American History without Black History.’

“I appreciated that statement and agree with it wholeheartedly.

“I also held my first mobile office hour event last month at the Algonquin Public Library.

“It was our first evening event and I’m looking forward to doing more and meeting constituents all across our district. I hope to see you there at a future one.

“Lastly, we will be sending out this newsletter twice a month in order to keep constituents informed in a more timely basis, not just about programs and events, but also about bills and priorities happening in Springfield.

“The session is going to be a busy one and I’m eager to get to work.”

= = = = =

Thus far, Ness has introduced no legislation.

She has been assigned to the following committees:

Grafton Township Republicans Hold Event in Support of Endorsed Huntley School Board Candidates

There are nine candidates for the Huntley School District 158 Board of Education of which four have been endorsed by the Grafton Township Republican Party.

Candidates for a four-year term follow:

  • Katherine (Kate) Policheri
  • Jonathan Dailey (appointed incumbent)
  • Melissa M. Maiorino (incumbent)
  • Stephen G. Buchs
  • William Geheren (incumbent)
  • Laura Murray (endorsed by Republican Party)
  • Andrew Bittman (endorsed by Republican Party)
  • Gina Galligar (endorsed by Republican Party)
  • Paula Yensen (former Democratic Party McHenry County Board member)

Candidates for a two-year term follow:

  • Andrew Fekete
  • Kevin Gentry (incumbent)
  • Michael Thompson (endorsed by Republican Party)

The Grafton Township GOP held a reception for its four candidates Thursday night.

Photos from the event follow:

Huntley School Board candidate Ginger Gallighar.
Huntley School Board candidate Michael Thompson.
Huntley School Board candidate Andrew Bittman.
Huntley School Board candidate Laura Murray.

Sheriff Looking for Deputy Applications

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Department may be receiving applications from farther afar than usual after CBS-TV broadcast a story on its press release.

From CBS News.

From the Sheriff’s Department:

Now Accepting Applications for Sheriff’s Deputy

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting applications for Sheriff’s Deputy. Individuals interested in a professional and rewarding career in law enforcement are encouraged to apply. A mandatory orientation, followed by the written exam and POWER test, will take place at Woodstock North High School at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office provide services through the Patrol, Investigations, and Special Services Divisions. Currently, starting salary is $67,892 annually, with top pay at $103,327. Benefits also include paid holidays, paid vacation time, and options for major medical insurance. Deputies must live within McHenry County to be eligible for a take-home car.

Applications for Sheriff’s Deputies can be found at www.mchenrysheriff.org/join-us. The minimum qualifications to apply are:

  • Applicant must be 21 years of age at hiring.
  • Must be a high school graduate or have a GED.
  • Applicant must be a United States Citizen.
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Applicant must live in McHenry County or any bordering Illinois or Wisconsin county, within one year of hiring. 

Applicants must submit their application, a $25.00 non-refundable application fee and required paperwork online at www.mchenrysheriff.org/join-us/employment-application by 12:00 p.m. on April 21, 2022. Paper applications and check (made payable to County of McHenry) can be mailed to:

McHenry County Merit Commission
ATTN: Holly Eddy
2200 N. Seminary Ave
Woodstock, IL 60098

Applications for lateral transfers are being accepted on a continual basis.  If you have questions after referring to our website, please contact Holly Eddy at (815) 334-4219 for additional information on the testing and hiring process.

DeWitte Points Out Employment Still Highest in Nation

From State Senator Don DeWitte:

Illinois Unemployment Rate Continues to Trail the Nation

Don DeWitte

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its December unemployment statistics, and Illinois remains among the worst in the nation with an unemployment rate at 4.7%. The only state with a higher rate than Illinois was Nevada.

In December, Illinois’ 4.7% unemployment rate meant that at that time 303,000 Illinoisans were unemployed.

This rate is higher than its neighboring states, where the highest rate is 4.3% in Michigan and the lowest is 2.8% in Missouri.

Additionally, Illinois’ unemployment rate stands significantly higher than the national average rate of 3.5%.

While Illinois’ December rate still shows a 0.4% decrease in the unemployment rate from December 2021, it still marks a trend of slight increase over the past few months. I

n 2022, unemployment had been slowly decreasing in the first half of the year, but from August 2022 on, the data showed a steady increase for the first time since April 2020.

Gamblers Spent $4 Billion Which Could Have Been Spent on Goods and Services, Tax Yield $1.3 Billion

From the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability:

Gaming Revenues Continue to Rise on the Dawn Before Further Expansion

by Austin Verthein, Research Analyst

Wonder Lake 2014.

Over the past decade, access to gambling has dramatically increased, both in its forms and locations.

This is largely due to the enactment of multiple pieces of gaming expansion legislation in recent years.

This expansion has significantly increased the amount of gaming related tax revenues coming into the State.

During this time, the gaming landscape has shifted from primarily relying upon Riverboat Casinos for revenues to diversifying into other gaming ventures such as Video Gaming and Sports Wagering.

The former, specifically, has grown massively from a revenue standpoint.

Since beginning operations in 2012 to present-day, Video Gaming’s annual tax revenues are quickly approaching $1 billion per year and have now surpassed Casinos as the top revenue generating gaming format in Illinois.

With additional gaming expansion on the horizon, the growth in gaming related dollars should continue in the years ahead.

Algonquin Township Trustees Hire New Attorney

At a Special Meeting last night attended by Township Trustees Ed Zimel, Teresa Sharpe Decker and Trustee Millie Medendorp, sans Supervisor Randy Funk and Trustee Theresa Fronczak, a new attorney was retained.

Mark Kimzey was hired to replace John Nelson, who is retiring.

Kimzey will represent the Township Trustees, who have been disputing the way that Supervisor Funk runs Algonquin Township.

From left to right, Clerk Marueen Huff, Trustee Ed Zimel, new Attorney Mark Kimzey, Trustee Teresa Sharpe Decker and Trustee Millie Medendorp.

A Friend of McHenry County Blog reported,

“The meeting was basically that the Lawyer that was representing the trustees is retiring and Mark J. Kimzey was approved as representing the Trustees going forward.

“Kimzey responded to a Q.&A. session of questions from the trustees.

“He also gave a short explanation of what their duties and powers are and what the Township Supervisor’s duties and responsibilities are.

“The meeting lasted around 28 minutes.”

Lawsuit Abuse Group Appoints Phil Melin New Leader

From the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse:

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) Names Phil Melin Executive Director for Illinois

Washington, D.C. – Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) welcomes Phil Melin as Executive Director of CALA-Illinois.

CALA is a nonpartisan, grassroots movement working to end lawsuit abuse across the United States.

Phil Melin

CALA advocates for commonsense legal reform measures by educating the public about the devastating, real-world costs of lawsuit abuse on working families and small businesses. CALA-Illinois leads CALA’s mission in Illinois.

“Small business is a the heart of the Illinois culture and economy, and every city and town in the state is dependent on small business success,” said Melin.

“Sadly, big money from the trail lawyer lobby has made Illinois one of the country’s most unfriendly states for small businesses.

“It’s an honor to fight alongside small business entrepreneurs to help level the playing field against lawsuit abuse here in Illinois.”

Phil Melin of Lake Forest, Illinois brings more than a decade of advocacy and small business experience to CALA-Illinois. He served as a Congressional District Director and co-founded an Illinois small business. He practiced law in California before moving to Illinois.

“My background as a lawyer, small businessman, and advocacy professional prepare me well to help improve the climate for small businesses in Illinois,” said Melin.

“We have much work to do in Illinois as Cook County, Madison, and St Clair counties are identified as among the worst regions in the United States for lawsuit abuse according to the American Tort Reform Foundation’s 2022/2023 Judicial Hellholes report.”

Phil Melin

About CALA-Illinois

CALA-Illinois is the grassroots arm of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots movement working to end rampant lawsuit abuse across the United States. CALA advocates for commonsense legal reform measures by educating the public about the evastating, real-world costs of lawsuit abuse on working families and small businesses. Learn more at https://cala.com/illinois/

New Finance Person for McHenry County

From McHenry County:

Kerri Wisz Named as New McHenry County CFO

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – McHenry County is pleased to announce that Kerri Wisz has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer.

Kerri Wisz

Wisz, who has served as Assistant Director of Finance since 2020, succeeds Kevin Bueso, who left to become chief financial officer for the Regional Transportation Authority.

She first joined the Finance Department in 2015 as senior financial analyst.

“McHenry County’s finances are in very experienced and capable hands with Kerri as our CFO,” County Administrator Peter Austin said.

“She will continue our long tradition of financial excellence and responsibility that taxpayers have come to expect from McHenry County Government.”

Besides developing the annual county budget with the guidance of the County Board, the Finance Department oversees payroll, accounts payable, and financial reporting. Wisz supervises a staff of seven.

Wisz was instrumental in developing seven annual budgets that won national awards from the Government Finance Officers Association, as well as furthering budget transparency with the implementation of Questica OpenBook software that allows the public to review revenue and expenses.

Wisz also played an important role in the transition to new software that further modernized county financial reporting.

McHenry County has a long history of fiscal prudence and discipline that allowed county government to go 12 years without increasing its tax levy, weathering the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic without cutting services or staff. Since 2010, McHenry County has been assigned the top Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

It is a back-to-back winner of the Triple Crown Award bestowed by the for winning all three of the GFOA’s financial reporting awards in a single year.