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Trading firm employee from Oak Lawn charged with diverting $700K

An office manager at a Chicago trading firm is facing a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly diverting more than $700,000 from the company’s owners.

Joseph Tagler, 29, worked as a back office manager and member of the board of directors of Eagle Market Makers, according to the FBI.

Authorities claim he stole more than $700,000 during a 26-month period, and used the money to buy property in Walkerton, Ind., for himself and a relative.

Tagler worked for the trading firm from 2008 through March, when an internal investigation uncovered the theft, said Richard Gleason, an attorney whose firm represents Eagle Market Makers.

He was confronted about the theft, admitted to it and was fired, Gleason said. Information gathered during the internal investigation has been turned over to federal investigators.

According to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, a co-owner of the firm had a bank account that he asked Tagler to close in November 2011.

The account was used to fund wire transfers in July 2011 and March 2013 for real estate parcels in Indiana — transfers the owner never authorized, authorities claim. The owner told investigators he did not make the signatures in his name on the wire transfer requests, according to a statement from the FBI.

The same account was used to deposit more than $323,700 in 2012, and $496,000 in 2013, primarily from the owner’s dividend checks, the complaint alleges. Most of the funds were then withdrawn through checks made out to “cash,” and appeared to be endorsed by Tagler signing the owner’s name, authorities claim.

Another co-owner of the firm discovered the alleged scheme while preparing to file tax returns, when he noticed the amount he actually received in dividend payments was less than what the company’s paperwork said he was paid, the FBI said.

Tagler is also accused taking funds from dividend checks he was supposed to prepare for the second owner. Instead of sending the check to the owner’s home in Alabama, Tagler forged the owner’s name, then deposited and withdrew the funds in cash, the complaint claims.

Tagler was arrested Thursday at his home in the 5100 block of West 105th Street in Oak Lawn, the FBI said. He is charged with one count of felony wire fraud, and faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the FBI.

Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan released him on a $50,000 unsecured bond at a hearing Thursday.



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