Financial Fraud and Public Corruption

Stetler & Rotert, Ltd. attorneys served as prosecutors at the highest levels of federal and state government, and now they provide that experience and judgment to clients facing grand jury inquiries or criminal prosecutions. In the most complex financial fraud cases, or in sophisticated government inquiries involving public officials and public funds, our lawyers skillfully guide clients through the investigative process. If necessary to protect client interests, we provide some of Chicago’s most experienced trial lawyers to provide the finest in courtroom advocacy.


SR won an acquittal from bribery charges against the CEO and founder of a national Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) company. Our client was accused of bribing a procurement official for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in exchange for a lucrative mail-order prescription contract. SR lawyers convinced the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that our client was entrapped by an improper FBI sting operation. In an extremely rare move, the Court ordered our client released from custody the same day the case was argued on appeal. United States v. Barta.

SR represented Antoin Rezko, a prominent Chicago developer who was a top fundraiser and close advisor to former Illinois government Rod Blagojevich. Mr. Rezko was charged with engaging in a “pay-to-play” scheme in which the actions of certain Illinois boards were manipulated to obtain political contributions. The SR trial team’s efforts during the lengthy and intensely publicized trial won widespread acclaim, particularly for our cross examinations of key government witnesses. United States v. Rezko.

SR represented the former Vice Chairman of Hollinger International, who was charged with Conrad Black and other executives in a scheme to defraud the shareholders of that company. United States v. Black, et al.

SR defended at trial and successfully appealed the criminal prosecution against the Treasurer of the City of Chicago. After an “avalanche of errors” committed by the trial court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed her conviction and the government subsequently agreed to a no-jail resolution. United States v. Santos.

SR represented a senior executive of United Airlines in a federal inquiry into improper demands made of United by the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. SDR’s advocacy for its client during this investigation, which arose out of the “Bridgegate” fiasco in New Jersey, resulted in a non-prosecution agreement for our client, who cooperated with the government’s investigation.

SR represented a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy in Naples, Italy, who was accused of fraudulently receiving a Living Quarters Allowance and making other false statements to the Navy. Our client was acquitted at trial of all charges related to the LQA, thereby avoiding a large forfeiture judgment, and he received a favorable sentence on the other counts. United States v. Ashton.

The effects of the economic turmoil of the last decade continue to be felt, particularly in the form of criminal prosecutions alleging bank fraud against business owners and other indebted borrowers. SR aggressively defends such cases at jury trials, working to place their clients’ conduct in the context of those uncertain times, and fighting to bring clarity to often-inflated claims of loss by the banks involved. See, e.g., United States v. Freed; People v. Esmail.

Dave Stetler represented a Chicago alderman against federal charges alleging extortion, a prosecution stemming from the highly-publicized “Operation Silver Shovel” investigation. His client was acquitted on all charges after a jury trial, and the client remains the only Chicago alderman ever to win acquittal in federal court in a public corruption case. United States v. Frias.

Comments are closed.