Former Illinois Teachers' Retirement System trustee Stuart Levine was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges of fraud, soliciting a bribe and attempted extortion, according to a statement issued by the office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Two Chicago attorneys - Joseph Cari and Steven Loren - were also indicted for allegedly assisting Mr. Levine; Mr. Cari was charged with attempted extortion, and Mr. Loren was charged with impeding the IRS by making it appear certain payments under "a sham consulting agreement" were legitimate business expenses.
The grand jury indicted Mr. Levine "for allegedly fraudulently using and seeking to use the former trustee's position and influence to enrich him and his associates," the statement said, adding Mr. Levine concealed and failed to disclose material information related to bids from four unnamed investment firms to the board of the Springfield-based pension fund.
The indictment alleges Mr. Levine, who resigned from the board last year and was also indicted in May on similar fraud charges involving hospital boards of which he was a member, solicited and received "hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed kickbacks and payments for himself, his nominees and his associates from investment firms seeking to do business" with the roughly $34 billion pension plan, according to the statement.
The fund issued a statement saying it has "cooperated fully with the investigation and we will continue to do so." John Day, spokesman for the pension plan, said the fund "has not incurred any losses with regard to" the issues being investigated.
A date has not yet been set for the three individuals to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.