A long-term fraud investigation has resulted in the indictment of five residents of the southwest suburbs related to their participation in a million-dollar auto theft ring, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
The defendants, three of whom are from Lemont and two from Romeoville, are accused of providing fraudulent information to lenders in order to obtain loans to purchase luxury vehicles from BMW and Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Cook and DuPage counties, according to a press release.
Investigators claim the defendants conspired to purchase the vehicles and then ship them to Eastern European countries for resale with no intention to repay the loans, the release stated.
The individuals were indicted Nov. 10 and are collectively charged with more than 150 criminal counts, including auto theft, financial institution fraud, loan fraud, vehicle theft conspiracy and theft by deception, authorities said.
One of the defendants—Eva Gebus, 44, of Lemont—was arrested Jan. 16 at O'Hare International Airport as she arrived on a flight from Canada, according to the State's Attorney's Office. Her bond was set at $300,000, and she is due to appear in court again Feb. 22.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the remaining four defendants, who are believed to have fled the country, the release stated.
The remaining defendants are Lemont residents Wojchiech Kujawa, 41, and Jaroslaw Gebus, 38, and Romeoville residents Halina Gebus, 61, and Tadeusz Gebus, 64.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, with assistance from the FBI, the Downers Grove Police Department and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Local authorities continue to work with the Polish National Police and Slovenian police to locate, seize and return the vehicles to the originating creditors, the release stated.