Stephen Calk, Chicago banker who sought Trump administration job, gets prison time for loan scheme

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Chicago banker who sought Trump administration job sentenced to prison
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Stephen Calk was sentenced to prison after he was convicted in a scheme to make loans to Paul Manafort to gain influence in the Trump administration.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago banker Stephen Calk was sentenced Monday to one year in prison for his conviction in a scheme to make $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort to gain influence in the Trump administration.

Manafort served as a campaign manager to former President Donald Trump from June to early August 2016.

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Calk, 57, was convicted last year on financial institution bribery and conspiracy charges in Manhattan federal court.

Before hearing the sentence, Calk told the judge that the case has left his life "in shambles."

"I sit here deeply, deeply humbled," he said, fighting back tears. He added: "I never sought to gain fame or power."

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Calk's lawyers had sought to avoid jail time and asked for probation, arguing he is a "good and decent man" whose crime was motivated because "he genuinely wanted to serve his country."

"He got a courtesy interview at Trump Tower.... nothing about that threatened the republic," defense attorney Paul Schoeman said.

The lawyer said the fact that the bank suffered no serious financial harm "makes this case unique," he added.

But prosecutors argued Calk deserved a term of up to five years. They said he "corruptly abused" his position as chairman and chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank to make $16 million in unsound loans to Manafort in exchange for Manafort's help in securing political power.

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"There's nothing unique about the corrupting influence of power," prosecutor Paul Monteleoni said.

Judge Lorna G. Schofield told Calk she needed put him behind bars to send the message that "no one is above the law, regardless of their wealth and influence."

She added: "You are extremely wealthy and you did not have to commit this crime."

The judge added one day to the one-year term - a modification that could qualify him for time off his sentence for good behavior.

Calk resigned from his family-owned bank in 2019. He will remain out on bail pending appeal.