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CHICAGO--A federal appeals court in Chicago last week upheld all but one of the judgments against Michael Segal, the former Near North National Group Inc. owner convicted of 19 counts of racketeering, fraud, embezzlement and other charges in June 2004.
Prosecutors alleged Mr. Segal looted Near North Insurance Brokerage Inc.'s premium fund trust account of $35 million for his own and his company's use. He was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $841.5 million in restitution and to forfeit $30 million in ill-gotten gains and his entire ownership in NNNG, of which he was the sole owner.
Mr. Segal, who has maintained his innocence, appealed his conviction contending, among other arguments, that he and NNIB were targets of "vindictive prosecution" by prosecutors who leveled additional charges in retaliation for Mr. Segal and NNIB's pursuit of civil remedies against former NNIB executives who were cooperating with the government.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected that and other arguments, but did ask a lower court to review whether Mr. Segal must personally pay back $30 million.
"What is not clear from the record is how much of the $30 million was poured back into the enterprise and how much went to benefit Segal personally," the court said in its opinion. "Without that information, we cannot determine whether at least part of the $30 million forfeiture would constitute double billing."
In addition to Mr. Segal, NNIB was convicted on several counts of mail fraud, embezzlement and making false statements and was ordered to pay a $1.4 million fine and $841.5 million in restitution.
NNIB transferred its Chicago office accounts and about 100 employees to Chicago-based Mesirow Insurance Services Inc. in August 2003 after two failed acquisition attempts. Other Near North brokerage operations bought out their ownership from Mr. Segal.