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updated: 10/24/2012 4:51 PM

Vernon Hills man pleads guilty to bank fraud

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A Vernon Hills accountant pleaded guilty to engaging in a scheme to defraud U.S. Bancorp and five clients of more than $1.8 million, authorities announced Wednesday.

Jeffrey B. Travis pleaded guilty to bank fraud Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI.

Travis, 51, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 5, 2013. He remains free on bond, officials said.

Bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory.

Travis, does business as Gross & Travis, Ltd., and Travis and Associates, Inc., and he has offices in Deerfield, the news release said.

As a condition of bond, Travis is required to notify his clients of the charge against him, authorities said.

Travis admitted he engaged in the fraud scheme from at least May 2002 until December 2008, authorities said.

Travis prepared checks from his clients to vendors, retirement programs and tax authorities but instead deposited them into U.S. Bancorp accounts he controlled, the news release said.

At times, he altered the checks to increase their value, authorities said.

Travis then withdrew the money from those accounts and diverted the funds for his own use, authorities said.

Travis was indicted in January on five counts of bank fraud and three counts of mail fraud. The indictment sought the return of more than $2 million.

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