Freeman-Wilson’s Former Director of Constituent Services, Aruba Travel Partner Indicted

Indictment alleges Mary Cossey engaged in a scheme to defraud using the American Express Card and Bank Accounts of “Individual A” and Gary New Day Foundation

August 5, 2020-Mary Cossey, long time friend, employee and confidante of former Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was indicted in a one count Complaint that was unsealed earlier today. According to allegations in the Complaint, Cossey concealed income and lavish purchases from the United States Bankruptcy Court by using an American Express card and a bank account associated with “Individual A.” Cossey filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in December, 2013. According to federal investigators, Cossey was required to truthfully disclose her assets, income and expenditures in the Chapter 13 case. “The purpose of a Chapter 13 plan is to enable an individual debtor, under Court supervision and protection, to repay her debts over a prescribed period of time. . . .in order to avail oneself of the benefits of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the debtor is expected to live on a reduced budget and maximize recovery for unsecured creditors who will have no recourse after the Court discharges their claims. A Chapter 13 debtor’s disposable income during the plan is property of the bankruptcy estate.” (Affirdavit of FBI Special Agent Jonathan Pressler p.4 emphasis supplied).

According to a sworn affidavit filed with the Complaint, Cossey spent lavishly on items including a BMW, a fur coat and jewelry and clothing from high-end retailer Nieman-Marcus while discharging mortgage and other debt:

Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Jonathan Pressnell, p. 24

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According to the Complaint, Cossey failed to disclose the debtor-creditor relationship with Individual A despite spending over $200,000 as documented above. In addition, Individual A leased a BMW automobile and Cossey was required to make the payments.

Hidden Income to Pay Hidden Debt

According to the Complaint, Cossey had substantial income from various sources which she used to pay the debt to Individual A. This income allegedly was not disclosed to the Bankruptcy Court and came from “non-legitimate sources”:

Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Jonathan Pressnell, p. 15-16

Payments From Karen Freeman-Wilson Campaign

According to the Affidavit, Cossey received personal payments and payments to Level 1 Consulting, LLC from a political campaign. While the Affidavit does not mention the campaign, a review of Karen Freeman-Wilson’s 2015 Campaign Finance Report shows expenditures which match up with some of the payments to Cossey mentioned in the Affidavit:

CFA-4 Friends of Karen Freeman-Wilson a/k/a Karen About Gary 2013 report p.43

Cossey served as Freeman-Wilson’s “Director of Constituent Services” in 2013 and was paid $80,00.00 per year. The position of “Director of Constituent Services” did not exist before Cossey’s appointment and was elminate when she left the position in 2015. Cossey ultimately ended up at NIPSCO, workingt as a “manager.”

In 2016, Cossey was one of large group of people who travelled to a conference in Aruba. The conference just happened to coincide with Cossey’s 50th birthday and she posted the following message on social media:

Screenshot of Mary Cossey Dec. 2, 2016 Facebook post

Freeman-Wilson defended her Aruba trip, stating she used a grant for the travel. Perhaps now the public will get a glimpse of some of the American Express charges incurred on the trip.

Cossey surrendered earlier today and was released on $200,000 bond. She is represented by Scott King.

All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. A criminal complaint or indictment is not evidence of guilt. An Affidavit filed in connection with criminal charges contains allegations by the Government and the Government bears the burden of proving the elements of the offense.

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