- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The former chairman of a failed suburban Chicago bank is headed to prison for five years after pleading guilty to fraud and theft from the U.S. Treasury Department’s bank-bailout program.

Former Premier Bank chairman Zulfikar Esmail entered his guilty plea Tuesday before Cook County Circuit Judge Matthew Coghlan. Esmail’s wife, 68-year-old Shamim Esmail, who was senior executive at the Wilmette bank, also pleaded guilty to fraud and theft. She was sentenced to two years’ probation and community service.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan accused the couple of fraudulently securing $7 million from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Authorities say Esmail hid the bank’s poor financial condition for years.

The 73-year-old Esmail launched Premier Bank in 2000. It collapsed 12 years later. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. estimates the bank has cost the fund $73 million.

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