Investor sued for fraud

By on October 1, 2010

More lawsuits expected from alleged victims
by Martha Quetsch
SUGAR GROVE—A Sugar Grove securities broker, Algird M. Norkus, allegedly swindled investors across the country of hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of his alleged victims, Eugene L. Pingatore of Westchester, Ill., is suing Norkus in Kane County Court, and many others plan to do the same, a local attorney said.

Pingatore’s attorneys, Higgins and Burke of St. Charles, filed the lawsuit in Kane County on Sept. 21. The lawsuit alleges that Norkus defrauded Pingatore of $500,000 through illegal investments.

“Mr. Norkus appears to have been operating the classic Ponzi scheme, basically taking money from clients and using it to pay off other clients to keep the scheme going,” Pingatore’s attorney John Burke said. “He pockets the majority of the money.”

Pingatore’s lawsuit seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages from Norkus and from the company with whom Norkus was a registered broker, Madison Securities, Inc.

Burke said said Pingatore is not the only person that Norkus allegedly defrauded. So far, the firm is representing 30 individuals who plan to sue Norkus, and Burke anticipates dozens more will come forth.

“We will have many more lawsuits filed in Kane County in the coming weeks,” Burke said.

Norkus was a Madison Securities representative from May 2006 until August 2010. A certified financial planner, he invested in securities for his clients including mutual funds, variable annuities and life insurance, stocks bonds and others.

The people whom Norkus allegedly defrauded between 1992 and 2010 are from the Chicago area, southern Illinois, Florida, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Missouri and other states, Burke said.

Most of the alleged victims are retirees, with the oldest being 97, Burke said. Many of his clients have lost their life savings because of Norkus, Burke said.

“He (Norkus) got around,” Burke said.

Burke likened Norkus’ dealings to those of Bernie Madoff, a New York stockbroker imprisoned in 2009 for defrauding thousands of investors of billions of dollars.

The Kane County judge assigned to the case is Stephen Sullivan. The court has yet to set the next court date, Burke said. The lawsuit is a civil court case. So far, no one has filed criminal charges against Norkus in Kane County, said Chris Nelson of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern Illinois District in Chicago, said that to date, no one has filed criminal charges with the U.S. Attorney’s Office against Norkus. Samborn said he could not confirm or deny whether his office was conducting an investigation of Norkus.

Burke said Norkus told his clients that he was president of Financial Update Inc. and worked out of an office in Oak Brook, Ill. However, since allegations of Norkus’ illegal investment scheme surfaced, Burke’s clients went to the office’s location and found it did not exist, Burke said. The phone number for Financial Update, Inc. was disconnected and his home number is not publicly listed.