Another potential witness against Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson pleads guilty

Cathy Torres’ name appears on a list of potential prosecution witnesses for Thompson’s federal tax trial, which is set for Feb. 4. The feds say Torres communicated with Thompson about his loan at Washington Federal and attempts to refinance there.

SHARE Another potential witness against Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson pleads guilty
 Cathy Torres walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on March 4, 2021.

Cathy M. Torres, a onetime loan processor at Washington Federal Bank for Savings, admitted she conspired with the bank’s late president, John Gembara, and others to embezzle $66 million.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

A second former employee of a failed century-old Bridgeport bank, whose name appears on a list of potential witnesses at the upcoming trial of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, pleaded guilty Thursday and formally agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

Cathy M. Torres, 40, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States. The onetime loan processor at Washington Federal Bank for Savings admitted she conspired with the bank’s late president, John Gembara, and others to embezzle $66 million.

At Gembara’s direction, Torres admitted she made bogus entries in the bank’s books, reports and statements to deceive the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when it came to the financial condition of the bank. She and others also altered appraisals to make it look like certain loans had sufficient collateral.

Torres’ name appears on a list of potential prosecution witnesses for Thompson’s federal tax trial, which is set for Feb. 4. The feds say Torres communicated with Thompson about his loan at Washington Federal and attempts to refinance there.

Also appearing on that list is Alicia Mandujano, who pleaded guilty earlier this month. Her plea agreement alleged that Gembara directed her to alter the bank’s books to make it falsely look like Thompson made payments on a loan there.

Regulators shut down Washington Federal in December 2017, less than two weeks after Gembara was found dead. He was seated in a chair, a rope around his neck, in the master bedroom of the $1 million Park Ridge home of his bank customer and friend, Marek Matczuk, who also faces federal charges.

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