debt collection company owner pleads guilty to fraudulently providing benefits to public official | USAO-NDIL


CHICAGO – The former owner of a debt collection company today pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for fraudulently agreeing to guarantee certain expenses for a special event hosted by the former clerk of the circuit court of the Cook County.

DONALD DONAGHER, JR., 69, of Harrisburg, Pa., Pleaded guilty to one count of corrupting something of value to reward a public official. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee has set the sentence for January 21, 2022.

Donagher was a former owner and CEO of Harrisburg, PA-based PENN CREDIT CORPORATION, which in 2014 had a non-exclusive contract with Cook County to perform debt collection work. Donagher admitted in a plea deal that in March 2014 he agreed to cover some expenses for a Women’s History Month celebration hosted by the Cook County Circuit Court. The expenses included the payment of the plaques which were presented to the honored judges at the event. Donagher admitted that he covered the expenses in an attempt to corruptly reward the Clerk of the Circuit Court for her perceived favorable treatment in awarding debt collection work to Penn Credit.

On a related note, the criminal investigation into Penn Credit was resolved today with a deferred prosecution agreement under which Penn Credit admitted to engaging in the Cook County bribery scheme under the leadership. by Donagher. Under the deal, the government will delay the prosecution of Penn Credit for two years, then seek to dismiss a conspiracy charge against it if the company meets certain conditions, including taking corrective action to improve its ethics programs. and compliance and continuing to cooperate with the government on any matter relating to such conduct. The deferred lawsuit agreement, which was approved today by the United States district court, also requires Penn Credit to pay a fine of $ 225,000.

The Donagher Plea Agreement and the Penn Credit Deferred Prosecution Agreement were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., special agent in charge of the local Chicago office of the FBI; Justin Campbell, Acting Special Agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigations Division in Chicago; and Patrick M. Blanchard, Cook County Inspector General. The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Christopher V. Parente.

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