The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment on Tuesday charging Chaka Fattah Jr. 31, of Philadelphia, in a scheme to defraud banks and the Internal Revenue Service of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fattah, Jr. is the son of 10-term Democratic U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-2).
The indictment charges that between 2005 and 2012, Fattah, Jr. made false statements to banks to obtain loans; made false statements to banks and the Small Business Administration to settle loans for less than what was owed; filed false federal income tax returns; failed to pay federal taxes; and stole from the Philadelphia School District, which had received federal funds for its operations.
According to the indictment, Fattah, Jr. obtained numerous business lines of credit from banks through false and fraudulent statements to local banks and used the funds primarily for personal expenses — including car payments, gambling debts, restaurant and club expenses, utilities, clothing, electronics, retail purchases, charitable donations, jewelry, legal fees, and personal credit card expenses.
The indictment alleges that these false statements involved fictitious earnings information that Fattah, Jr. supplied for entrepreneurial companies which Fattah Jr. claimed he operated, including 259 Strategies, LLC (“259 Strategies”) and Chaka Fattah Jr. & Associates.
Fattah, Jr. claimed that 259 Strategies provided educational consulting, diversity consulting and audit services, technical assistance, and community relations, and organizational development services to a select group of clients. He claimed that Chaka Fattah Jr. & Associates performed research and consulting concerning the development of computer centers.
The indictment says that Fattah, Jr. received a loan from United Bank in 2011 for $50,000 intended for “working capital to support business operations.” Instead, it is alleged that he used the funds to make car payments, to pay down over $15,000 in personal credit card debt, and to pay in excess of $33,000 in gambling debts at area casinos. The charges total approximately $206,000 in bank loans received through false misrepresentations or fraud.
The indictment also alleges that Fattah, Jr. defaulted on several lines of credit and provided false information to two banks, to the Small Business Administration, which had insured the bank loans, and to a Small Business Administration investigator, to attempt to settle the debts for less than what was owed.
The indictment charges that Fattah, Jr. falsely claimed that 259 Strategies was out of business at the time he was attempting to settle his debts in 2010, and that he was earning only $2,500 per month. The indictment charges that, in fact, during 2010, Fattah, Jr.’s 259 Strategies was intact and, through this company, he was earning between $6,250 per month and approximately $37,500 per month.
Fattah, Jr. is also charged with theft from a program receiving federal funds, that is, stealing funds supplied by the federal government to the Philadelphia School District. The indictment alleges that, at times, Fattah, Jr. was the chief operating officer of a Philadelphia company which provided educational services to “at risk” and other students through contracts with the school district.
The indictment charges that Fattah, Jr. provided false expense information and inflated salary figures for teachers and administrative staff on budgets submitted to the school district, which made payments consistent with the budgets provided. Thus, the charges allege, Fattah, Jr. concealed the theft of the funds from the school district.
Finally, the indictment charges that Fattah, Jr. filed false federal income tax returns for tax years 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and failed to timely pay federal income tax of approximately $51,141 on reported income in excess of $150,000 during 2010.
If convicted of all charges, Fattah, Jr. faces a substantial term of imprisonment, restitution to the IRS, a fine of up to $13,000,025, a special assessment of $2,300, and up to five years of supervised release.