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‘A long con’: Lake Forest man pleads not guilty to stealing over $500,000 from victims in Lake County

Ricky A. Dugo, 54, of Lake Forest.

A Lake Forest man who prosecutors called a “long con” man has pleaded not guilty to defrauding at least three victims out of more than $500,000 in cash and property.

Ricky A. Dugo, 54, of the 600 block of Wharton Drive in Lake Forest, was charged in March with four counts of felony theft and two counts of felony conspiracy to commit a financial crime.

Dugo appeared for a court hearing Wednesday morning in front of Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Berrill said Dugo is alleged to have convinced his victims to give him money for investments that did not actual exist.

Berrill said Dugo would then return to the victims for additional money, stringing them along after the initial investments were given to him.

“Each of the victims in this case fell prey to a long con. These scams had significant negative impacts on their lives,” Berrill said. “Our goal in this case is to seek justice for victims who were truly hurt by these schemes.”

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A trial date has not been set yet as attorneys and prosecutors begin reviewing thousands of pages of discovery information in the case, a spokesperson for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office said.

A criminal complaint filed in Lake County Circuit Court alleges that Dugo obtained or exerted unauthorized control over property from a man, which exceeded $500,000 but was under $1 million.

The incident occurred between January 2013 and July 2015 and involved Dugo convincing the victim to pay “advance fees as purported investments that were not actually legitimate,” according to the complaint.

A second victim also reported that Dugo convinced them to pay “advance fees as purported investments that were not actually legitimate.”

That victim lost between $10,000 and $100,000 in cash in March 2018, the complaint said.

Dugo allegedly committed loan fraud with a third victim by instructing the woman to include false income on a loan application in July 2017.

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The loan application was to finance the purchase of a 2015 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 2017 Harley-Davison motorcycle, which were valued at between $10,000 and $100,000.

The charges were brought against Dugo on March 10 following an investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Court records show that an arrest warrant was issued for Dugo after the charges were approved and he turned himself in two days later.

He was processed and appeared in front of Lake County Judge Paul Novak, who reduced his bond from $400,000 to $100,000.

Dugo was released from custody after someone posted $10,000 bail on his behalf, court records show.

A blog post on the site called “The Dirty” dated May 24, 2018, said that Dugo stole $10,000 from the blog post author and over $800,000 from many others around the Chicago area and the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

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The blog post explained that Dugo proposed a deal to the victim where any money they put into a television buying scheme would double their money.

Shannon B. Dugo, 39, of Lake Forest.

The victim said they gave Dugo $10,000, which was all the money they had saved up, and Dugo did not return their money.

Ricky Dugo’s wife, Shannon B. Dugo, was charged with felony perjury in January for allegedly lying to a grand jury while under oath in December 2019.

Ricky Dugo was charged with four Class 2 felonies and two Class 1 felonies. He faces four to 15 years in prison for each Class 1 felony, and three to seven years for each Class 2 felony, prosecutors said.

Ricky Dugo is scheduled to appear in court on July 6 for a case management hearing and Shannon Dugo, whose case is also still ongoing, is scheduled to appear in court on June 15 for a case management conference.