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Illinois White Collar Crime Update
posted on 11/5/23

According to a federal jury verdict, Illinois businessman James Weiss was found guilty of bribing an Illinois state senator and an Illinois state representative. The state representative is currently in prison; the state senator had cooperated with the FBI but was convicted of tax crimes and awaits sentencing. Mr. Weiss was related to a former Cook County assessor.

The Trial

The Weiss trial took seven days, and 15 witnesses presented evidence. Secret recordings provided by the FBI exposed the bribery plan. Weiss had been involved with sweepstakes machines. The use of these machines is both untaxed and unregulated. The devices look like slot machines that offer prizes like free play and coupons. No actual money can be won by playing the machines.

Local and state Illinois governmental agencies collect tax dollars from video gaming machines, but sweepstakes machines are not covered by tax laws. 

Mr. Weiss bribed the two Illinois state officials in an attempt to alter sweepstakes machine legislation regarding the machines. Mr. Weiss’ attorneys argued that the bribe dollars were consulting fees, but the jury disagreed. Mr. Weiss asked for a light sentence because he claimed that the legislation he promoted would have generated tax revenue.


Mr. Weiss had offered the disgraced state legislators $2,500 per month that would be paid by a third party. Mr. Weiss was convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI, and sentencing is scheduled for October 2023.


Five years ago, John Gembara, former president of Bridgeport Bank, was found dead with a noose around his neck at Marek Matczuk’s home. While Gembara’s death was thought to be a suicide, his wife and attorney felt that he had been killed.

Marek Matczuk was recently convicted of embezzlement. While Matczuk told the jury that he was paid over $3,000,000 for doing “odd jobs,” the jury disagreed. Matzcuk had received millions of dollars to build homes and claimed that he never received enough money to finish the projects. He faces up to 35 years in prison. Matczuk was immediately taken into custody as authorities believed that he might flee to his native country, Poland.

Related Case

In a related case, Robert M. Kowalski was convicted of embezzlement. Kowalski stole more than $8,000,000 from Washington Bank and also was found to have hidden over $500,000 in assets. 

Kowalski was a business partner, customer, and friend of John Gembara. Gembara was supposedly the brains behind the giant Bridgeport Bank embezzlement scheme.

Sometimes, People Make Bad Decisions

If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, get legal help now. At Glasgow & Olsson, our Chicago criminal defense attorneys understand that good people sometimes commit crimes. We are aware that individual circumstances may cause a person to make a poor choice that results in a criminal charge. If you are charged with a criminal offense, you need the proper counsel to guide you through the federal criminal justice system. You need experienced criminal lawyers to help you understand your options. 

If you need representation for a criminal charge in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help. When you need an attorney experience matters, contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.