A former Chicago attorney was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for helping her brother hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets in bankruptcy proceedings tied to the collapse of a Bridgeport neighborhood bank.
Jan Kowalski, 59, pleaded guilty last year to concealing assets from a bankruptcy trustee, admitting she falsified documents and lied during testimony in bankruptcy proceedings for her brother, Robert, costing creditors about $357,000.
In sentencing Kowalski to 37 months behind bars, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall called her conduct “extremely serious,” particularly for an attorney who had taken an oath to uphold the law.
“It is the complete antithesis of what an attorney is supposed to be doing,” Kendall said. “People lose faith, and it really is the beginning of the destruction of our judicial process and the destruction of our democracy.”
Kowalski’s attorney, William Stanton, had asked for probation, saying she suffers from a lengthy list of physical and mental ailments, is the sole caretaker for her elderly mother, and has a son who has had his own difficulties.
Before she was sentenced, Kowalski, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, stood at the lectern and lamented her situation but did not apologize