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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Chicago Attorney Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme

(CN) - Chicago attorney Kathleen Niew pleaded guilty Thursday in Columbia, S.C., to three counts of wire fraud to further a fraudulent investment scheme.

Niew entered her plea before U.S. District Judge Mary Lewis, who will decide on a sentence after receiving input from the U.S. Probation Office. Niew faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

According to David Stephens, Assistant U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, Niew's arrest was the result of an undercover operation by the FBI that has netted over 150 convictions over the past 10 years.

Stephens said FBI agents, posing as potential investors in Niew's bogus "high yield" investment program, recorded her touting "secret European medium note trading programs" that were supposedly "risk free" and would yield returns of as much as 100 percent a month.

"Such trading programs, of course, do not exist," Stephens told the court.

Prosecutors said after making her initial sales pitch by phone, Niew traveled to South Carolina to meet with investors who she believed controlled the investment funds of a large national charity.

The amount that she sought to obtain was $100 Million, prosecutors said. Unbeknownst to her the investors she was dealing with were FBI special agents who videotaped everything she said.

Stephens also advised the court that in addition to the attempted fraud described above, it is believed Niew stole millions from actual investors and the names of those persons -- and their exact losses --continue to be investigated.

Prosecutors are asking anyone who has had financial dealings with Niew and lost money in those dealings to contact the case's victim-witness coordinator at (803) 929-3000 or Stephens at (864) 282-2100.

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