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Owing $8M, Developer Turns to Hit Man

Thursday, September 18, 2014

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An Illinois commercial and industrial developer is headed to prison after recruiting a hit man to murder a creditor to whom he owed $8.2 million.

Daniel Dvorkin, 76, of the Chicago suburb of Lombard, "negotiated the price of a hit man as though he were closing a real-estate deal," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather K. McShain and Jeff Perconte argued in a government sentencing memo.

Dvorkin has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison for soliciting the murder of a Texas businessman who had won an $8.2 million judgment against Dvorkin and two of his companies.

Daniel Dvorkin
Chicago Business

Daniel Dvorkin, 76, has been sentenced to eight years in prison. His attorney called his threats an "offhand comment."

Dvorkin was convicted of solicitation of murder and five counts of using a telephone and a car to commit a murder-for-hire after a week-long jury trial in August 2013 in U.S. District Court. He had faced up to 55 years in prison.

Deep in Debt

According to the evidence at trial, Dvorkin had taken out business loans several years ago for his commercial and industrial development and management companies.

When the recession struck in 2008, Dvorkin’s businesses—Dan Development Ltd./DDL and Dvorkin Holdings LLC in Oakbrook Terrace, IL—were hit hard, and he was unable to repay the bank loans, authorities said.

Later, the loans were bought by Texas investor Larry Meyer and his company, who successfully sued Dvorkin for payment in civil court.

A mediation meeting April 2, 2012, on the judgment failed to reach any agreement.

'Stop Breathing'

Three days after the mediation meeting, the FBI said, Dvorkin called Robert Bevis, a gun-shop owner who rented space in one of Dvorkin's buildings, and set up a meeting for the next day. Bevis would later became the government's chief witness.

Dan Development Ltd
Dan Development Ltd.

Daniel Dvorkin's Dan Development Ltd. and other businesses develop and manage commercial and industrial properties in the Chicago area. The businesses are now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

At Dvorkin's office the next day, Dvorkin walked Bevis outside "and asked for help with finding a hit man," according to the FBI.

Dvorkin handed Bevis a copy of the judgment order and two documents "clearly identifying the intended victim" and told Bevis that he wanted the target to “'stop breathing,'” the FBI said.

The Deal

Dvorkin told Bevis that he had $35,000 in untraceable cash saved and could come up with another $15,000 to pay upfront; he would then pay another $50,000 after the murder.

He offered to arrange for a private jet "so the hit man’s name wouldn’t appear on any commercial flight records," the FBI said. "And he indicated that he would want to be out the country when the murder occurred so he wouldn’t be a suspect."

Dvorkin also noted that he was appealing the judgment and, if successful, would not need the businessman killed.

According to his later testimony, Bevis told Dvorkin he "might know a hit man in Florida" but instead went to local police, who called in the FBI. Bevis agreed to wear a wire for future meetings with Dvorkin.

A Cheaper Hit Man

Working with authorities, Bevis met with Dvorkin several times over the following weeks. About a month later, however, Dvorkin announced that he had hired a hit man who charged less ("in the $20,000 range") and "only needed a 10 percent down payment."

At that point, the FBI immediately contacted Meyer and arranged for protection for him and his family. The same day, they confronted Dvorkin.

FBI

The man recruited to find a hitman for Dvorkin went to police and eventually wore a wire for FBI investigators. Dvorkin said he wanted the creditor to "stop breathing."

After further investigation and collection of additional evidence, Dvorkin was arrested on July 5, 2012. A month later, Dvorkin Holdings LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

(On Tuesday, the bankruptcy trustee agreed to sell stakes in five buildings Dvorkin co-owned to his investment partner and nephew.)

'Offhand Comment'

At Dvorkin's trial, his attorney argued that Dvorkin had made up the story about the cheaper hit man because he was afraid of Bevis and was trying to stop the hit, Chicago Real Estate Daily reported.

Attorney Scott Frankel called Bevis "a scary, dangerous guy" and "a liar" and cited evidence that Bevis had some unpaid income taxes.

Frankel called Dvorkin an upstanding developer who had made an "offhand comment" to Bevis "and then got scared when Bevis actually put a plan in motion," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Frankel said none of the recorded conversations captured Dvorkin "actually soliciting a killing or paying any money toward that goal," the Tribune said.

   

Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Developers; Enforcement; Laws and litigation

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