What happens when you and an escort allegedly run up almost $5.8 million on a company credit card?
You both might get charged with six counts of wire fraud by a federal grand jury.
Let’s look at the details of this case and how you should fight back if you are accused of a similar offense.
Scott Kennedy and Crystal Lundberg: The Alleged Story
In 2012, Scott Kennedy, a top financial executive for the drug device company Nemera, met Crystal Lundberg online at Backpage.com, a classified ad website that advertises sexual services.
Lundberg was working as a professional escort and, according to the FBI, Kennedy “solicited her services approximately eight to 10 times between approximately 2012 and May 2015.”
In May 2015, Lundberg reached out to Kennedy via text to ask for financial assistance. Lundberg then moved in with Kennedy at his suburban home in Buffalo Grove with her two young children and pets. That November, Lundberg supposedly asked Kennedy for help with buying Christmas gifts for her daughters and Kennedy gave her access to his company credit card.
Kennedy says Lundberg claimed she had a trust fund worth $4 million that she could access once she turned 30. Kennedy thought he would be reimbursed for any charges she made on the credit card and had planned on paying his company back.
Over the next year and a half – from November 2015 to March 2017 – Lundberg and Kennedy supposedly spent $5.79 million on numerous things, including:
- $8,000 per month on a personal driver for Lundberg’s kids;
- $60,000 on two Rolex watches;
- $24,000 for movers to haul Lundberg’s potted plants from Illinois to California;
- $12,000 per month on rent for a mansion in San Diego;
- $2,500 per month on a maid in San Diego;
- $6,000 for two purebred dogs;
- $970,734 on travel and transportation to places like Bali, France, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Santorini, Bora Bora, and Fiji;
- $20,000 at House of Diamonds in Jamaica;
- $606,887 on clothing and accessories;
- $12,767 on a Franz Sandner grand piano; and
- $585,000 on the Royalty Room, a medical spa Lundberg opened in California.
Nemera discovered “improper financial activity by Scott Kennedy” and began an internal investigation, which led to Kennedy’s firing in March.
When the FBI reached out to Kennedy, he cooperated fully and even made undercover recordings of phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Kennedy claims that he was deceived by Lundberg because he “wanted to have a family” and “it blew up in my face.”
What Happens to Kennedy and Lundberg Now?
Kennedy and Lundberg have been charged with six counts of wire fraud. Wire fraud is an example of a white collar crime in Illinois.
Title 18, Chapter 63 of the U.S. Code states that:
“Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
The 20-year prison sentence is only for one count of wire fraud, though. Six counts of wire fraud could potentially mean up to 120 years in prison.
Although Lundberg was the one who made a majority of the purchases, Kennedy did confirm that some of the purchases were his. However, Kennedy has been working with the FBI for months now, and cooperation with the FBI can go a long way into possibly having charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.
Kennedy also has no prior criminal history, which shows that this might be an isolated incident driven by a man who “wanted to be loved and cared for.” These important facts and details could be especially useful in Kennedy’s case.
When it comes to wire fraud and other white collar crimes, it’s imperative to retain the help of a knowledgeable attorney as soon as you know you’re under investigation for an alleged offense. A qualified white collar crimes attorney will be able to listen to the facts of your case and determine the best way to proceed so you have the best possible outcome.
If you’ve been accused of wire fraud like Kennedy or any white collar crime, contact an experienced Chicago defense attorney today to fight back.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.