EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons has announced a successful jury verdict in a 2013 fraud case against a St. Charles, Mo., man.
After approximately two hours of deliberation, a Madison County jury found Paul S. Schneider, Jr., 68, guilty of one count of attempt to unlawfully cloud title. The trial began on Tuesday, Jan. 20, and went to the jury around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the Madison County Recorder’s office contacted the Madison County Sheriff’s Department regarding a possible fraudulent filing. Investigators with the Sheriff’s Department worked with prosecutors at the State's Attorney's Office in determining that Schneider had attempted to file a false lien with the Recorder’s Office. The document referenced a false claim by Schneider regarding a debt with US Bank. Because the fraudulent claim was caught immediately, the document was never actually filed.
Assistant State's Attorney Tom J. Irvin argued successfully that Schneider knew he was violating the law when he attempted to place a lien on properties that US Bank had foreclosed on and sold to other individuals. Testimony during the trial included staff from Recorder Amy Meyer’s office and Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida’s office.
Gibbons praised the work of Meyer’s staff in initially recognizing that the document
was a potentially fraudulent one.
“Their quick action and attention to detail allowed my prosecutor to show the jury that the defendant knew what he was doing was illegal,” said Gibbons. “This case demonstrates the vital role that the Recorder’s Office plays in maintaining the integrity of not only our legal documents, but also of the rights of property owners throughout Madison County.”
Gibbons also commended the work of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.
“The successful conclusion to this case is a direct result of the various county departments working together to protect the citizens they represent,” Gibbons said.
He added that this was the first jury trial for Irvin, who graduated from law school last year and was sworn into the Illinois bar in November 2014.
Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor range from fines and probation up to one year in jail. Schneider will be sentenced by Associate Judge David Grounds in two to four weeks.