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Washington Federal Bank Investigation

The Sun-Times coverage of the Washington Federal Bank for Savings in Bridgeport, and the federal investigation into "massive fraud" at the now-shuttered bank.

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Patrick Daley Thompson can show jurors his amended tax returns, judge rules

U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama made the ruling at a hearing Friday, where it appeared Thompson’s trial is on track to begin Feb. 4.

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Bridgeport bank president had worker falsely make it look like Patrick Daley Thompson made loan payments: plea

That worker, Alicia Mandujano, has become the first person to plead guilty as a result of the massive investigation that has swirled for years since the failure of Washington Federal Bank for Savings and the death of its president, John Gembara, both in 2017.

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Patrick Daley Thompson accountant says he found note that could undermine alderman’s defense

The revelation came at a hearing Monday as Thompson is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 4. But the judge raised concerns about moving forward amid the COVID surge.

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Attorney at center of Bridgeport bank case has long ties to City Hall, powerful players

Robert M. Kowalski is accused of embezzling at least $31 million from Washington Federal Bank for Savings, which operated in the Daley family political fiefdom for generations.

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Dead CEO of failed Bridgeport bank worried over his safety, sister told feds

In a sealed deposition, Janice Gembara Weston said John Gembara began bringing Marek Matczuk to the bank’s annual board meeting after the ouster of a board member.

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Feds say Patrick Daley Thompson lied, claimed he made payments on loans from failed Bridgeport bank

The new revelation came after Thompson’s defense attorney, Chris Gair, again blasted the feds’ prosecution of Thompson and pushed for a trial as soon as this fall.

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Bridgeport bank failure a big headache for 2 prominent Chicagoans

Police consent decree monitor Maggie Hickey and chef Kevin Hickey are dealing with their late father’s losses from Washington Federal Bank for Savings’s shutdown.

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Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson pleads not guilty to federal indictment during heated arraignment

Lawyers argued about whether Thompson must surrender his passport while awaiting trial. It’s a routine request, but his attorney called it "just punitive." The judge gave Thompson a week to turn in his passport — and his FOID card.

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Facing foreclosure, Patrick Daley Thompson turned to clout’s piggy bank

He got $89,000 from Washington Federal Bank for Savings after another Bridgeport bank demanded he repay a loan that was nearly three years past due.

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Patrick Daley Thompson indicted over loans from failed Bridgeport bank, declares innocence

The Bridgeport alderman, 51, who faces seven charges involving Washington Federal Bank for Savings, says: ‘I did not commit any crime, I am innocent, and I will prove it at trial.’

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How one suburban bar is linked to two federal criminal cases

The would-be operators of what’s now DaVinci’s Gaming Bar couldn’t get licenses because of legal troubles. The feds investigating a failed Bridgeport bank are now looking at the bar.

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Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson voted to OK development of a property he’d sold months earlier

The Bridgeport alderman — also under investigation for possible tax fraud — didn’t disclose his stake in Pensacola Place apartments or a second Uptown property until six months after the council vote.

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A tale of two once-proud banks for immigrants on Chicago’s Southwest Side

One disappeared in 1982 after 69 honest and scandal-free years. The other appears to have been the victim of a gargantuan loan fraud scheme.

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Feds charge owner of home where Bridgeport bank president died as ‘massive fraud’ case expands

It’s the latest development in a case that traces back to Dec. 3, 2017, when John F. Gembara, president of Washington Federal Bank for Savings was found dead in Marek Matczuk’s home.

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Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson got secret deal from Bridgeport bank shut down for ‘massive fraud’

He bought a summer home in Michigan with an unrecorded loan from Washington Federal Bank for Savings and now is under investigation for claiming deductions on his tax returns for interest authorities found he never paid, sources tell the Sun-Times.

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Attorney charged in massive fraud scheme at Bridgeport bank released from federal detention to prepare for trial

Robert M. Kowalski will not be allowed to leave his sister’s west suburban home as he prepares to represent himself at trial.

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FDIC settles for $2.5M with accountants for Bridgeport bank closed for fraud after CEO’s death

Bansley & Kiener agreed to the payout, which didn’t involve any admission of wrongdoing. Washington Federal Bank for Savings’ failure remains under investigation.

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Lights out at suburban gambling den linked to failed Bridgeport bank

The feds want to know if bank’s top debtor opened the bar under the name of his 80-year-old mother.

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Probe of failed Bridgeport bank now involves suburban gambling parlor

DaVinci’s Gaming Bar in Chicago Ridge is owned by the mother of Robert Kowalski, who’s charged with embezzling millions from clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings.

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Key player in Bridgeport bank case seeks to exhume bank prez’s body, is locked up for contacting widow

It’s a new strange twist in a case that has so far led to the indictment of six people, including Robert Kowalski.

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4 employees of clout-heavy, failed Bridgeport bank charged with $29 million embezzlement conspiracy

Among those charged in the ‘ongoing’ investigation: 2 top Washington Federal Bank for Savings executives. Days before the bank failed, its president was found hanged.

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Disbarred southwest suburban lawyer caught up in Bridgeport bank failure probe

Federal investigators have been talking with disbarred attorney John Farano Jr. about the collapse of clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings.

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Feds have evidence of income-tax fraud in Bridgeport bank failure, sources say

As authorities ready charges in the 2017 collapse of clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings, the bank that bought its deposits has seen an exodus of customers there.

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‘Many’ to be charged in clout-heavy Chicago bank’s failure after massive fraud

‘The number of defendants would be many more,’ a prosecutor says of the collapsed Washington Federal Bank for Savings in Bridgeport, where many customers had ties to the Daley family and the 11th Ward Democratic Party.

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FDIC wants $14.5 million from dead Bridgeport banker’s estate over massive fraud

Feds blast John F. Gembara’s handling of clout-heavy Washington Federal Bank for Savings, saying he gave no-collateral ‘loan advances’ without expecting repayment.

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Board member of failed Bridgeport bank tied to City Hall hiring scandal

William Mahon, who was a board member of a failed Bridgeport bank shut down by federal authorities, had a role in City Hall hiring scandal that sent Mayor Richard M. Daley’s patronage director to prison.

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Why did Bridgeport bank president kill himself in customer’s Park Ridge home?

THE WATCHDOGS: A banker is found dead, the bank is shut down, and a lawyer for the banker's widow suspects he was embezzling.