Legal Ethics

Ill. Lawyer Accused of Falsifying Tax Docs for Loan Forbearance and Buying a New Car

An Illinois lawyer, accused of using his bankruptcy clients’ credit cards and directing an employee to create false tax returns so he could avoid student loan payments and buy a new car, has been arrested on federal fraud and obstruction charges, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Bradley F. Aubel’s former employee, who the Northern District of Illinois U.S. attorney’s office now describes as a “cooperating individual,” was arrested for identity theft in 2010. According to the employee, the Vernon Hills lawyer regularly asked that person to get cash advances from clients’ credit cards and discharged the debt in their bankruptcy filings.

In regards to the false tax returns, the U.S. attorney’s office in a press release (PDF) maintains that Aubel asked his employee to create different documents to suit his purpose. For a car dealership where he wanted to purchase a 2011 Honda Fit, the tax documents for a loan reported he earned $75,585 in 2009, and $82,330 in 2010.

For a request to the U.S. Department of Education seeking loan forbearance on a debt of more than $100,000, Aubel’s tax returns showed that he earned $8,663 in 2008, $7,578 in 2009 and $7,018 in 2010.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Aubel, 47, told his employee that he actually had not filed tax returns for several years. After the employee’s arrest, Aubel allegedly suggested the individual plead guilty and in exchange he would continue to pay the person’s salary and mortgage while the sentence was served. It’s also alleged that he paid the employee’s sister $6,000 to move to Mexico and not talk to the FBI or testify in court.

The government provided a text exchange between Aubel and his employee, who the Tribune describes as being a woman.

Aubel: “R u ok you look abit tense”

Woman: “No I’m ok, just nervous about the whole thing”

Aubel: “Just making sure your ok and remember that everything is going to be ok”

Woman: “O yea right the last time you said that I got arrested and now have felony charges, and you want me to be ok”

Aubel was released on a $10,000 secured bond, the Tribune reports. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

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