Story by 89 WLS Web Writer Kim Rasmussen
Three serial fraud defendants who met while incarcerated for unrelated crimes before being released are being sent back to serve new sentences.
Daniel Parrilli, 62, of Carol Stream; John Lauer, 48, of Chicago; and Christopher Andersen, 57, of Downers Grove met at the federal prison in Oxford, Wis. After all three were released they joined together in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that cost approximately 100 victims more than $3.6 million.
Two of the defendants claimed to run a business, Sundown Entertainment, Inc., that bought and sold films and comic-book rights and together raised more than $7 million from approximately 150 investors. The third defendant entered the scheme later and lulled victims with false assurances about their investments.
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall sentenced the men last week. Parrilli is to serve 70 months in prison, Lauer 31 months and Anderson 95 months. Parrilli was ordered to pay more than $3.65 million in restitution and begin serving his sentence on Aug. 1. Lauer was ordered to pay $457,367 in restitution and surender on June 12. Anderson, who is currently serving his sentence, was ordered to pay more than $3.7 million restitution.
In connection with Parrilli and Andersen’s sentencings, the government argued that the fraud scheme “had a terrible impact on victims, who in many cases depleted their 401K funds or their college savings, or took out loans against their homes in order to invest with the defendants.”
Andersen had committed essentially the same crime previously when he was convicted in 2001 of offering and selling fraudulent investments in the form of promissory notes. He continued to engage in additional fraud schemes while the charges were pending in both cases and even after he pleaded guilty in the Sundown case.
Parrilli had been imprisoned previously for bank fraud and fraudulently using aliases to obtain credit cards. When they teamed-up in the Sundown Entertainment fraud scheme, they promised investors returns starting at 10 percent to as much as 150 percent over a period of months to as short as a few days.
Lauer joined Andersen and Parrilli after they had already fraudulently obtained most of the funds they raised from victims, and he provided lulling assurances to nervous victims that their investments were safe. Lauer also admitted engaging in a separate investment fraud scheme involving the purported purchase of a surety bond to obtain the release of bank funds from the Cayman Islands.
Lauer at one time was the director of risk management and benefits for the Chicago Housing Authority when he engaged in a fraud scheme involving the fraudulent offer and sale of investments in so-called prime bank instruments that resulted in losses of more than $20 million, including about $15 million in CHA pension funds. Lauer admitted engaging in multiple, separate fraud schemes and met Andersen and Parrilli while all three were serving their sentences at the Oxford prison. Lauer was on supervised release when he assisted them in the later stages of the Sundown Ponzi scheme.
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