After a two-week trial in federal court, a jury Wednesday convicted Daniel J. Sullivan, of Niles, and his brother John J. Sullivan, formerly of Northbrook, of defrauding elderly victims of tens of thousands of dollars in home repairs.
The brothers operated their businesses at 7345 N. Harlem Ave., Niles, as well as a Chicago location.
They targeted elderly homeowners, convinced them to refinance their homes in order to pay for expensive repairs, and pocketed the payments, according to the office of Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
"They never intended to do the repairs," said Patrick Pope, assistant U.S. attorney. "Once they got their hands on the money, they'd do a little work but not the promised repairs."
After the brothers took $70,000 for one job, the contractor who actually performed the repair testified he did about $5,000 worth of work, according to Pope.
Six victims testified in court. One said he contracted with the brothers to repair a coachhouse so he could rent it out; instead, they falsely claimed it was termite-infested and tore it down, Pope said, causing the victim to lose the value of the building.
Each brother was convicted on two counts of wire fraud. Each faces 20 years in prison on each of the two counts. They also face making restitution to victims, turning over $1.2 million in fraudulent proceeds, and a fine of $250,000 on each count.
U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning scheduled sentencing for noon on Jan. 26. She also has the option to impose a fine totaling twice the loss to any victim or twice the gain to the defendants, whichever is greater.
The brothers operated their business in Niles and Chicago under the following names: J&D Home Services, open in Niles until 2006; Contract Services, open in Niles until 2008, New Look Home Services and A-Z Home Services.
Because most of the victims lived on the south and west sides of Chicago, the city of Chicago obtained an injunction in 2004 preventing New Look and John Sullivan from performing any home repairs in Chicago.
On Wednesday, George Van Geem said he did not know of any Niles injunctions against them, and was not familiar with them or their business activities.
Both John and Daniel Sullivan remain in federal custody until sentencing.
More details are available on the U.S. Attorney's press release.