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Sycamore MorningStar exec. gets 1 year for wire fraud

Wire fraud
Wire fraud(MGN)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WIFR) - Ryan Weckerly, 48, of Sycamore, Ill. was sentenced Friday by a U.S. District judge to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison for wire fraud and aiding in the preparation of a false tax return.

After Weckerly serves his prison sentence, he will be required to serve 6 months of home confinement and 36 months of supervision.

A federal investigation revealed Weckerly’s Sycamore marketing agencies, Morningstar Media Group and Morningstar Interactive, did business between 2015 and 2020 with co-defendant, Barbara Bortner, which included inflated invoices for marketing work for Mercyhealth. The Internal Revenue Service initiated an audit of Bortner’s individual tax returns in May 2019.

Bortner created a fake company named WeInspire LLC. Weckerly wrote over 103 checks to WeInspire LLC from one of his business accounts totaling $2,051,975. Bank records showed that Weckerly provided Bortner with an additional $1,000,000 in cash payments.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Judge Conley ordered Weckerly and Bortner to pay $2,428,275 in restitution to Mercyhealth.

Bortner was sentenced to 3-and-a-half years in prison for her role in the offense on May 2. The charges against Weckerly and Bortner were a result of an investigation conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation.

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