The former father and son owners of the Boston Blackie's restaurant chain have been sentenced for their roles in a check-kiting scheme that defrauded two Chicago-area banks out of more than $1.7 million, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.
Chris Giannis, 41, was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to felony theft charges. He was also charged with organizing a continuing financial crimes enterprise. His father, Nick Giannis, 66, was sentenced in April to four years of probation after pleading guilty to theft charges, according to a news release from the Cook County state's attorney's office.
The Giannises were ordered to pay back all $1.7 million.
Prosecutors say the men in some cases by depositing multiple checks at a bank, then withdrew money electronically before the checks cleared. In other cases, the men deposited multiple checks at a bank and then withdrew the funds using wire transfers, checks and electronic payments made by Chris Giannis or using his designated Internet account, according to the news release.
Charter One Bank lost more than $1.04 million and Washington Mutual Bank lost more than $690,000 as a result of the scheme, which is alleged to have taken place between January 2008 and February 2009, prosecutors said. The owners were charged in March 2010.
Boston Blackie's restaurants in Arlington Heights, Glencoe, Naperville, Skokie and two others in Chicago closed or changed names in September 2010, a year after the chain declared bankruptcy. Two locations -- in Deerfield and another in downtown Chicago -- remain open, though under different ownership.