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Owner of the debt collection company pleads guilty to having granted public officials corrupt advantages | USAO-NDIL

CHICAGO – The former debt collection company owner today pleaded guilty to a state criminal complaint for corruptly declaring himself willing to pay certain expenses for a special event hosted by the former Cook County Clerk.

DONALD DONAGHER, Jr., 69, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to corruptly rewarding a public official with something of value. US District Judge John Z. Lee has set the conviction for January 21, 2022.

Donagher was a former owner and chief executive officer of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based PENN CREDIT CORPORATION, which had a 2014 non-exclusive contract with Cook County to conduct debt collection services. Donagher admitted in a settlement agreement that in March 2014 he agreed to cover certain expenses for a Celebration for Women’s History Month celebration hosted by the Cook County District Court. The expenses included the payment of plaques to be presented to the judges honored at the event. Donagher admitted that he had taken on the cost of corruptly rewarding the district court registry for their favorable treatment regarding the award of debt collection work to Penn Credit.

In that regard, Penn Credit’s criminal investigation concluded today with a deferred law enforcement arrangement in which Penn Credit admitted that it was involved in Cook County’s corruption program on Donagher’s instructions. Under the agreement, the government will postpone the prosecution of Penn Credit for two years and then attempt to dismiss a charge of conspiracy against the company if the company meets certain conditions with the government in relation to all matters related to that conduct. The deferred prosecution agreement approved by the U.S. District Court today also stipulates that Penn Credit must pay a fine of $ 225,000.

Donagher’s plea agreement and Penn Credit’s deferred prosecution agreement were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., special adviser for the FBI’s Chicago Field Office; Justin Campbell, acting special adviser for the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Patrick M. Blanchard, Inspector General of Cook County. The government is represented by Assistant Attorney General Christopher V. Parente.

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