- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) - Executives of a suburban Chicago auto loan company and an accountant have been charged with misappropriating more than $5 million from a suburban Chicago auto loan company, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

James Collins, 50, chief executive of Evanston-based Honor Finance LLC, the company’s chief operating officer, Robert DiMeo, 49, and accountant Michael Walsh, 62, are charged with mail fraud.

The men are accused in U.S. District Court with diverting money owed the company between 2011 and 2018 to Skokie-based shell company, LHS Solutions Ltd., which they controlled.

The men allegedly used LHS Solutions to buy GPS devices they later sold at inflated prices to Honor Finance, according to prosecutors. The GPS devices were installed in vehicles purchased with Honor Finance loans so that they could be located and repossessed if the borrowers defaulted on their loans.

Collins, DiMeo and Walsh allegedly kept the excess cash, which was used by themselves and their family members, prosecutors contend. Some of the misappropriated funds on a down payment on a lake house in Dowagiac, Michigan.

Collins and Walsh, both of Evanston, and DiMeo of Park Ridge couldn’t be reached for comment through telephone calls to Honor Finance. It wasn’t immediately known if they have attorneys.

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