|Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien|
Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien, 49, was charged last week with one count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution, and one count of bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
On Wednesday, Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced that O’Brien has been “reassigned to administrative duties in the office of the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District, Judge E. Kenneth Wright Jr.” The action followed a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County on Tuesday.
Administrative duties can include performing marriage ceremonies and reviewing petitions for reduced court-filing fees for indigent parties, a from Evans’ office said. The action is effective immediately and until further notice.
“The committee is aware that a federal grand jury indicted Judge O’Brien on April 12, and she is accused of fraudulently obtaining loans related to the purchase, maintenance and sale of properties in Chicago,” the statement said. “That same day, on April 12, Judge Wright reassigned Judge O’Brien to administrative duties until the Executive Committee could consider the matter.”
Evans said last week that he was unable to comment further on the matter, citing Supreme Court Rule 63, which states, “A judge should abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court…”
The alleged crimes occurred before O’Brien was elected the first female Filipino-American in the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2012.
Federal prosecutors allege O’Brien got lenders to provide loans “by making false representations and concealing material facts in documents submitted to the lenders.” An attorney at the time, she used the loans to buy and refinance about $1.4 million in mortgage and commercial loans, including the purchase of an investment property in the 600 block of West 54th Street in the Back of the Yards, prosecutors said. (Click to Continue)
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Cook County Judge Removed From Bench Amid Federal Fraud Charges