Levine steals from friend and then sends a bill

October 17, 2011

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(AP/M. Spencer Green, file)
Stuart Levine

Defense attorneys for William Cellini are delving into the criminal history of the government's star witness, Stuart Levine, in an attempt to convince jurors that they shouldn't believe anything he says.

Levine is one of the early figures to go down in the federal government's investigation into the Blagojevich administration. He's cooperating with prosecutors and is the star witness in what is probably going to be one of the last trials in the corruption scandal.

On the stand Levine talked about how he was mentored and helped by a wealthy Chicago businessman, Ted Tannebaum. When Tannebaum died, Levine became the executor of his estate. Levine testified that he had friends draw up a fake lawsuit against the estate for $4 million, and then as the executor he settled that lawsuit for $2 million, from which he'd get a cut. But that wasn't the end of the scam. Levine admitted under questioning that he then charged the estate a million dollars for his work as the executor, essentially paying himself for stealing from his friend's children.