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2 Chicago Developers Convicted As Part Of Conspiracy To Embezzle Tens Of Millions In Bank Funds


A federal jury convicted a pair of Chicago developers for their role in conspiring to embezzle millions over more than a decade from the failed Washington Federal Bank for Savings in Bridgeport.

Washington Federal Bank For Savings, as seen in 2017

Chicago resident Miroslaw Krejza and Park Ridge native Marek Matczuk were convicted Friday of “conspiring to commit embezzlement and falsify bank records, as well as aiding and abetting embezzlement by bank employees,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

The conspirators disguised the embezzled money as purported real estate development loan disbursements made to Krejza, Matczuk and others, per the U.S. attorney’s office. The recipients didn't have to repay these purported loans, and they never did.

Krejza and Matczuk couldn't be reached for comment. 

The jury convicted Matczuk of embezzling $6M from the bank and Krejza of illegally pocketing $2.6M. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the late John F. Gembara, the CEO and majority shareholder of Washington Federal, directed the bank to give Matczuk the money between 2007 and 2017. 

Gembara was found dead in the main bedroom of Matczuk’s home on Dec. 3, 2017, with a rope wrapped around his neck and around the railing of a spiral staircase, per the Sun-Times. 

Federal regulators shut down the bank 12 days later after the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency determined the bank was insolvent and had at least $66M in nonperforming loans, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

The federal investigation into the bank’s collapse led to criminal charges against 16 defendants. Juries convicted Krejza, Matczuk and two others, while 10 defendants pleaded guilty and two entered into deferred prosecution agreements. 

The jury gave the verdicts after a three-week trial in a Chicago federal court. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall didn't set sentencing dates, per the U.S. attorney’s office.