CHICAGO

Jeffrey Gonsiewski Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud; 'Robin Hood-Like' Scheme Disguised Customers' Debt

It's not every day that a man can perpetrate bank fraud and look like a hero.

But that's exactly what's happened to Jeffrey Gonsiewski, a banker who pled guilty Thursday to what the Chicago Tribune calls a "Robin Hood-like" loan scheme.

According to an FBI press release, Gonsiewski was the vice president of the loan department at First Security Trust and Savings Bank in suburban Elmwood Park. During a span of time that lasted through February of 2009, Gonsiewski oversaw loan customers who, like so many around the country, were falling behind on their payments.

The FBI describes his criminal act:

[Gonsiewski] altered loan documents to make it appear that customers' payments were current when he knew they were actually overdue, which prevented the bank from taking timely action to collect delinquent loans and protect its assets.

Put in a more sympathetic light, he bought time for customers struggling with their mortgages and other loans so that his bank couldn't "protect its assets" by foreclosing on them.

The Tribune certainly seemed more inclined to that kind of description, writing that Gonsiewski "fancied himself sort of a modern-day Robin Hood at a time when consumers were becoming increasingly delinquent on their bank loans."

For one count of bank fraud, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. His plea agreement suggests a term of four to six years.

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