CHICAGO—The president of an Elgin roofing company allegedly eluded authorities for nearly two weeks after he was indicted on federal fraud charges and is facing a detention hearing this week, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Robert Durchslag, president of Singles Roofing Company Inc., allegedly cheated a roofing manufacturer of more than $1.8 million worth of materials and supplies that he purchased on credit and never paid for, according to an indictment charging him with three counts of wire fraud that was returned by a federal grand jury on August 16.
The following morning, FBI agents went to arrest Durchslag at his business, but he was alerted to their arrival by surveillance cameras and fled the premises. After nearly two weeks of pursuit, agents located Durchslag at a Michigan Avenue hotel last Wednesday and arrested him without incident.
Durchslag, 56, of Aurora, has remained in custody since then and is scheduled to have a detention hearing at 3:30 p.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier in U.S. District Court.
The arrest and charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the indictment, between June and November 2009, Durchslag defrauded Building Materials Corporation of America, doing business as GAF-ELK, a New Jersey roofing manufacturer that had an Illinois office in suburban Woodridge. Durchslag obtained and attempted to obtain materials and supplies from GAF on credit by making false representations about Singles Roofing’s financial status, its assets, and its ability to pay on credit. In late June and early July 2009, Durchslag allegedly falsely inflated the balance of a Singles Roofing bank account by more than $2.8 million by depositing 18 non-sufficient funds checks into the account. He then withdrew more than $683,000 from the account and used the funds to pay business and personal expenses, the indictment alleges, while at the same time, he failed to pay GAF for a $122,939 invoice.
In early July 2009, Durchslag allegedly falsely told GAF that Singles Roofing had failed to pay the invoice because his company had been the victim of an embezzlement. In mid-July 2009, he caused preparation of a fabricated letter from the bank to his company stating that Singles Roofing was the victim of “a substantial fraud” and that his business account would remain frozen pending an investigation, the indictment alleges. As Durchslag knew, however, there was no such fraud and his deposit of non-sufficient funds checks had caused the freeze on his business account, according to the indictment.
Durchslag allegedly caused the bogus bank letter to be faxed to GAF to induce the manufacturer to continue providing materials on credit and to delay GAF’s efforts to collect the money he owed. In late July 2009, Durchslag e-mailed GAF a letter purporting to be from a bank investigator stating that approximately $17.8 million had been embezzled from Singles Roofing, the charges allege. In mid-August 2009, Durchslag allegedly offered to pay GAF $800,000 and, at the same time, provided false information about Singles Roofing’s financial condition, including a false claim that the company had signed a $2 billion contract with NASA. Further, he allegedly provided GAF with checks that were returned due to non-sufficient funds, including one for $980,000.
In total, Durchslag allegedly obtained a total of approximately $1,822,642 in roofing materials and supplies from GAF through fraud. The indictment seeks forfeiture of more than $2.5 million.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. The court may also impose a fine totaling twice the loss to the victim or twice the gain to the defendant, whichever is greater. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Cannon.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.