This woman was celebrated for her massive success in the face of adversity, but there was apparently a dark side…
Jessica Arong O’Brien, 51, was the first Filipina judge in Cook County. It was quite a journey for the woman who came to the United States with almost nothing when she was just 16 years old. She entered a community college and was placed in remedial classes because she was deemed ‘not ready’ to take regular college-level classes. She had come to America to become an actress, but later decided that she wanted to have a marketable skill, so she took culinary arts and restaurant management. She ended up traveling to Switzerland and eventually enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu London to hone her skills. She later decided that her future was with the law and graduated from John Marshall Law School in 1998. From there, her trajectory was straight up.
Watch O’Brien on a local show talk about her background:
Oh, look at that! She’s a ‘diversity’ advocate! Imagine that.
She was the first Asian elected president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and co-founded a foundation that awards scholarships to law students from diverse backgrounds.
In a profile interview for abc7 in May 2016 she said: ‘I really believe that being the first, although it is a true honor, it is also a huge responsibility because I have to make sure I pursue excellence in everything that I do.’
In the profile clip, Timothy Evans, chief judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County lauded her saying: ‘She’s open, optimistic, welcoming and tenacious. She wants people to be accountable for their conduct but she’s fair, committed to justice, and sees that as a way of life and one that she perpetuates, believes in and practices every day.’
Welp, not so much for herself it seems.
Despite being a well-respected judge and a civic leader in Cook County who was awarded the 2016 Vanguard Award by the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago, O’Brien has been convicted of a $1.4 million mortgage fraud. O’Brien was charged with scamming several lenders in the purchase of properties on the South Side of Chicago. The incidents took place a decade before she became a judge. When the indictment was issued in 2017, she was reassigned to administrative duties and resigned from her job earlier this year.
O’Brien was convicted of lying to lenders to obtain more than $1.4 million in mortgages on two investment properties in Chicago that she bought and sold between 2004 and 2007 while owning a real estate company. At the same time she was a special assistant attorney general for the Illinois Department of Revenue.
Prosecutors had alleged O’Brien made at least a $325,000 profit from the transactions by unloading the two homes and paying kickbacks to a straw purchaser.
The straw purchaser defaulted on payments causing losses to lenders and ending with the properties winding up in foreclosure.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Madden told the jurors in February that O’Brien had ‘used lies to buy and sell these properties.’
O’Brien is married to Cook County Judge Brendan O’Brien, which has made things rather… awkward.
Appearing in court on Thursday for sentencing, O’Brien, who is married to Cook County Judge Brendan O’Brien, read out a tearful statement before the court.
‘I’m an embarrassment,’ she said, before brushing off her lawyer who had approached the lectern to try to cut her off.
O’Brien spoke of how she ‘should have known better’ as a lawyer that she was committing fraud and focused on how she’d shamed her family and lost a career she loved.
‘Of all those things that everyone has told you about me, one thing was missing — stupid,’ O’Brien said. ‘I mean, seriously. This whole process is crazy. I can’t put my hands on it.’
‘Of course, I have remorse as to my stupidity,’ O’Brien added.
The judge wasn’t buying the ‘I was stupid’ defense, which shows that not every judge in Cook County is an idiot and/or a criminal.
Steve Greenberg, her lawyer, argued for her probation because her story was an ‘inspirational’ one.
Madden asked for a two-year prison sentence for O’Brien saying her success story was an aggravating factor because she didn’t have a financial need to commit fraud but she did so regardless.
In denying O’Brien’s and her lawyer’s request for probation, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin said the fraud scheme had lasted nearly three years and wasn’t done on impulse.
‘This wasn’t stupid,’ Durkin said. ‘This was a crime… You really didn’t need to do this.’
Source: Daily Mail
Wow. How embarrassing for Cook County and the Judges O’Brien.
The left was quick to jump on Jessica Arong O’Brien’s ‘inspirational’ story because she is likely a leftist. After all, she was advocating for ‘diversity’ which is a dog-whistle for leftism. Frankly, if she was on the right, the Media(D) would have ignored her completely.
One thing to note, O’Brien thought her future was with the law, an apparently it still is — just not in the way that she had imagined.
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