Prosecutors charged a Lake Forest man with being a “con artist” and scamming numerous victims out of more than $500,000. He was found guilty in one of several counts.
In March 2021, four counts of felony theft and two counts of criminal conspiracy to commit a financial crime were brought against Ricky A. Dugo, 55, of Lake Forest.
Dugo was charged with additional offenses, including theft, three counts of money laundering, and two counts of deceptive practices by a Lake County grand jury. According to Kevin Berrill, an assistant state’s attorney for Lake County, Dugo persuaded his victims to pay him money for investments that didn’t exist in May 2021.
Berrill claimed that Dugo would return to the victims after receiving the initial investments and extort more money from them.
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“Each victim, in this case, was a victim of a complex scam. Their lives were significantly impacted negatively by these schemes, according to Berrill. “In this case, our objective is to pursue justice for those victims who were genuinely harmed by these schemes.”
According to a criminal complaint submitted to the Lake County Circuit Court, Dugo obtained or exercised illegal control over a man’s property worth more than $500,000 but less than $1 million.
According to the complaint, between January 2013 and July 2015, Dugo persuaded the victim to pay “advance fees as alleged investments that were not genuinely legitimate.”
Dugo persuaded a second victim to make “advance fees as alleged investments that were not legitimate,” according to the second victim. According to the complaint, the victim lost between $10,000 and $100,000 in cash in March 2018.
In July 2017, Dugo allegedly conspired with a third victim to commit loan fraud by giving the lady instructions to declare fictitious income on a loan application.
A 2015 Harley-Davidson and a 2017 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, worth between $10,000 and $100,000, were the subject of the loan application.
In the more recent charges against Dugo, it was claimed that he had “knowingly secured by fraud” control over money, cars, Rolex watches, and furnishings worth between $100,000 and $500,000.
According to the indictment, the victim bought the cars, which comprised five different motorcycles, in March 2020 on the “false premise” that Dugo would reimburse the victim. Additionally, according to the indictment, Dugo “deceptively forced” the guy to write a check for less than $10,000 to a family member.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigated before filing the charges against Dugo.
According to a May 24, 2018, blog post on the website “The Dirty,” Dugo stole over $800,000 from numerous people in the Chicago region and near the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. He also allegedly stole $10,000 from the author of the blog post.
According to the blog post, Dugo offered the victim a contract in which any money invested in a scheme to acquire televisions would double their money.
The victim claimed that they handed Dugo $10,000—all of their savings—and that Dugo did not give them their money back. The allegations against Dugo were divided up into several distinct instances.
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The judge in one of the cases, Lake County Judge Christopher Lombardo, found Dugo guilty of one count of theft by deception, a Class 2 felony, for stealing $18,700, after a bench trial on Friday. By control, he was declared not guilty of theft. The three-day problem took place. Dugo and his counsel chose not to summon any witnesses to the stand.
The prosecution called five witnesses, and the victims of Dugo also gave testimony. According to the trial, Dugo developed a well-executed strategy to steal money from others over the years and never intended to repay it.
After the verdict, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart commented that “today is a good day” for Dugo’s “long-running schemes.”
“Our Special Investigations Division performed a fantastic job supporting our prosecutors,” Rinehart said. “Together, they are starting to achieve justice for these deserving folks who lost money to this con artist and scammer.
Dugo’s bond was revoked, and the Lake County Jail was given possession of him.
Three to seven years in prison are the possible sentences for Dugo. He might be sentenced to probation. On March 17, a sentencing hearing will occur after a pre-sentence investigation.
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