File Photo – The Art Institute of Chicago | Photo: Google Street View

A Beach Park man faces up to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal charges that he stole $2.3 million in funds while he was employed at a museum in Chicago.

Michael Maurello, 56, of Beach Park, was charged in January with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.

An indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago accused Maurello of fraudulently obtaining the museum funds from 2007 to 2020.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Maurello listed himself as the payroll manager for The Art Institute of Chicago. He reported working there since 2000.

Maurello, who is no longer employed at the museum, caused the museum to deposit more than $2 million into his personal bank accounts, the indictment said.

He designated the payments in the payroll system as having been made to other employees or former employees, the indictment said.

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The indictment said that the museum’s assistant controller asked Maurello in January 2020 about one of the payments.

Maurello falsely said that the transaction had been a test of the payroll system, according to the indictment.

Maurello allegedly edited and altered a report from the museum’s payroll system to conceal information about the misappropriated funds.

He did so by falsely changing the employees’ names and the dates and dollar amounts of the payments, the indictment said.

Maurello on Wednesday pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

In his plea agreement, Maurello admitted that he kept spreadsheets and notes to track the misappropriated money so that he could later make reversals within the payroll system to hide the thefts.

Maurello faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to three years on supervised release.

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Maurello may also be sentenced to pay a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from his offense, whichever is greater. He will also be ordered to pay restitution to the museum of $2,308,772.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 14.