CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois accountant who pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of dollars from a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago and others to finance a luxurious lifestyle was sentenced Monday to 16½ years in prison.
Sultan Issa, 46, of Hinsdale admitted earlier this year Art Institute trustee Roger L. Weston wasn’t his only victim. Issa, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in January, said he also stole millions from individual investors, including $500,000 from a widow who trusted him to invest funds from her late husband’s estate and three former Chicago Blackhawks players.
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood said Issa’s misconduct was “startling” in its breadth and that he would not have been able to carry out the schemes without first gaining the “trust and affection” of his victims.
Most of the individual investors who lost money in Issa’s scams were not identified in court records. However, in his plea agreement, Issa admitted to embezzling from Weston’s family funds by forging signatures to gain control of assets and fraudulent documents to secure millions of dollars in loans. Issa also admitted to regularly lying to Weston about the status of the family’s assets and manipulating the books to make it appear investments were making money.
According to the plea agreement, Issa allegedly used his ill-gotten money to buy residential properties in several states, including Michigan and Montana, and property in Mexico. He also purchased two private jets, four yachts, about 60 firearms, and watches and jewelry.