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Vernon Hills lawyer accused of bankruptcy fraud scheme

Updated: October 23, 2012 6:07AM

CHICAGO — A Vernon Hills attorney used his bankruptcy clients’ credit cards for personal use, and then discharged the debt in their bankruptcy cases, federal prosecutors said Friday in announcing charges against him.

Bradley F. Aubel, 47, is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice, according to the criminal complaint that was unsealed Thursday after Aubel was arrested.

An attorney since 1997, Aubel involved one of his employees in his alleged criminal acts, a woman who had begun cooperating with the FBI in the summer of 2011 after she was arrested on identity theft charges and accused of misusing the same cards, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Reached on his office line Friday, Aubel said, “I cannot, cannot comment on that,” and hung up.

In a series of text messages, Aubel suggested that if the female employee would plead guilty to the charges and keep him out of it, he’d pay her mortgage and give her sister $6,000 so she could go to Mexico and dodge the feds, according to the complaint.

The employee said Aubel had her draft fake tax returns to qualify for a loan from a Honda dealership, the complaint reads.

Aubel told the employee that he had not filed tax returns for the last several years, the complaint states.

In July, Aubel bought a 2011 Honda Fit with a loan he obtained with bogus tax returns showing between $75,000 and $83,000 in annual income the past few years, prosecutors said.

The employee allegedly made him a second set of bogus tax returns showing him earning less than $10,000 a year, the complaint reads, so he could ask the U.S. Department of Education to forbear on collecting more than $100,000 he owed on student loans.

Aubel is free on $10,000 after appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in U.S. District Court. He returns to court on Oct. 16.

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