Stuart Nitzkin Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Misappropriating $550K from Charity; Prosecutors Intend to Prove $831K

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Stuart Nitzkin admitted in federal court today, Wednesday May 12, 2021, that he fraudulently misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars from a non-profit organization for physically and psychologically challenged children.

Stuart Nitzkin, 45, of Deerfield, Ill., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis set sentencing for Aug. 3, 2021.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri H. Mecklenburg.

According to a plea agreement, Nitzkin from 2011 to 2016 worked as the Executive Director of an Illinois-based non-profit organization whose mission was the rehabilitation of physically and psychologically challenged children. During that time, Nitzkin knowingly submitted to the organization invoices and receipts for payment and reimbursement of expenses that Nitzkin claimed were incurred on behalf of the organization. In reality, Nitzkin knew the expenses were not actually incurred by the organization but rather by Nitzkin for his and others’ personal benefit, the plea agreement states.

The expenses Nitzkin submitted for reimbursement included luxury vacations for Nitzkin and his family to Las Vegas, Florida, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, personal golfing expenses, tickets to Chicago Bulls basketball games and other professional sporting events, personal medical expenses, real estate taxes for his family residence, health club dues, household goods, meals, and car maintenance, the plea agreement states. Nitzkin also pocketed cash from fundraising events held on behalf of the organization and used the money for personal expenses, the plea agreement states.

Nitkin admitted in the plea agreement that as a result of the scheme he fraudulently misappropriated at least $550,000 from the organization. The government charged, and intends to prove at sentencing, that Nitzkin misappropriated approximately $831,400.

According to records (IRS Form 990 “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax for American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled filed for the fiscal year ending December 2016), Stuart Nitzkin was one of the most highly compensated employees ($75,000) at American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled — the non-profit organization for physically and psychologically challenged children. The Total Revenue for the fiscal year ending 2016 was $1,887,732 and the total executive compensation was $151,917, which covered Nitzkin as Board Secretary and Executive Director and another employee as National Executive Director with a salary of $48,750. Net income for American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled in 2016 was $229,470. Total contributions were reported at $1,944,841, which is over the Total Revenue reported.

The organization also listed 17 other board members, including a a board president, directors, and a board vice president/treasurer.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.



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