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Two accused of scamming retirees in Ponzi-like scheme

Updated: November 19, 2012 3:10PM

Two west suburban men are expected in federal court later this week, accused of scamming 120 investors — mostly retirees from Illinois and California — out of a total of $28 million through a Ponzi-type scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced.

Robert C. Pribilski, 54, of Lisle, John T. Burns III, 53, of Naperville, are each charged with multiple counts of wire and mail fraud, and are expected to be arraigned Thursday in Chicago.

While holding estate-planning semi­nars through a company called USA Retirement Management Services, Pribilski and Burns persuaded their victims to invest in Turkish bonds, prosecutors say. But instead of using the victims’ money to buy the bonds, the money went to pay interest on other investors’ accounts and to speculate in failed real estate and restaurant ventures.

They are accused of pocketing an additional $2.5 million of investor money to pay for homes, cars and other expenses, prosecutors say.

Investigators were looking for a third man, Mahmut Erhan Durmaz, 42, formerly of Streamwood, who is thought to be living in Turkey.

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