A Deerfield man, who is the former director of a non-profit that helps disabled children, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for stealing over $800,000 from the organization for his own personal use.
Stuart Nitzkin, 45, of Deerfield, was charged with one count of felony wire fraud, according to a criminal information document filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.
Nitzkin pleaded guilty to the charge in May. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis sentenced Nitzkin to 42 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay back all stolen money to the organization.
“This was just simple greed,” Ellis said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “And it was your attempt to live a life that you couldn’t afford.”
Nitzkin apologized to the judge and vowed that “nothing like this will ever happen again.”
Nitzkin was the executive director of “Organization A,” which federal prosecutors described as a non-profit Illinois corporation committed to empowering physically disabled children to participate in physical and psychological rehabilitation through sports.
Online corporation records show that the corporation is American Friends Of Israel Sport Center for the Disabled (ISCD), which is based out of Northfield.
Prosecutors said in a charging document that Nitzkin was responsible for organizing and managing the organization’s fundraising events and soliciting donations from donors. He was paid a salary of $150,000 a year.
Nitzkin was authorized to seek reimbursement from the non-profit for expenses he incurred that were related to those tasks.
Prosecutors said that Nitzkin devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the non-profit starting in April 2011.
Nitzkin allegedly made false and fraudulent representations to American Friends of ISCD and others in order to misappropriate the non-profit’s funds, which he knew he was not entitled to, prosecutors said.
Nitzkin used the funds for his and others’ personal benefit, including to reimburse and pay for personal expenses unrelated to the organization’s mission.
He also submitted his personal credit card statements to the organization for reimbursement, prosecutors said.
Nitzkin used the stolen money to pay for luxury vacations to Nevada, Florida, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, personal golfing expenses, tickets to professional sporting events, personal medical expenses, real estate taxes for his family residence, health club dues and household goods.
At one point, Nitzkin started his own business to provide goods and services to a camp that had no connection to American Friends of ISCD and charged expenses of his business to American Friends of ISCD.
Prosecutors also say that Nitzkin withdrew cash from the bank account of American Friends of ISCD and used their company credit card for his and his family’s personal benefit.
Prosecutors further said that Nitzkin took cash from donations to the organization. He also caused American Friends of ISCD to make payments to a vendor, who was a personal friend of his, to provide catering services to American Friends of ISCD for a fundraising event.
Nitzkin “knew the payments to Vendor A were in excess of the amount due for Vendor A’s services, and further, misrepresented to [American Friends of ISCD] the amount paid to Vendor A,” the charging documents said.
In total, Nitzkin fraudulently misappropriated at least $831,000 from American Friends of ISCD, prosecutors said. He left the non-profit in the middle of 2016.