Two real estate developers, Miroslaw Krejza and Marek Matczuk, have been convicted of participating in a conspiracy that embezzled millions of dollars from the failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings in Chicago. Last week, they were found guilty of conspiring to commit embezzlement, falsify bank records, and aiding and abetting embezzlement by bank employees.
Washington Federal Bank, headquartered in the Bridgeport neighborhood, was shut down in 2017 due to insolvency and having at least $66 million in nonperforming loans. Prosecutors claim that Krejza and Matczuk were involved in this conspiracy for over a decade, embezzling millions of dollars in bank funds.
The funds were disguised as real estate development loan disbursements to Krejza, Matczuk, and others. However, the conspirators were never required to repay these supposed loans. The investigation conducted by federal authorities into Washington Federal Bank led to criminal charges against 16 individuals, including the bank’s CFO, Treasurer, and other high-ranking employees, all accused of conspiring to embezzle at least $31 million from the bank.
The embezzled money was primarily transferred to Robert M. Kowalski, a Chicago attorney, and other individuals outside the bank. Kowalski was previously convicted earlier this year on charges of bankruptcy fraud, bank embezzlement, and false statements.
While Krejza, Matczuk, and two others were convicted after jury trials, ten defendants pleaded guilty, and two entered into deferred prosecution agreements. The convictions mark a significant step in holding accountable those responsible for the embezzlement scheme that led to the downfall of Washington Federal Bank for Savings.