David A. Soskin was escorted into a McHenry County courtroom likely for the last time on drug trafficking charges Thursday as he prepared to forfeit his home, almost $79,000 in assets and accept a 10-year prison sentence.
After a private meeting between attorneys and McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather, Soskin pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver more than 12 pounds of marijuana. He’s required to serve five years of the 10-year sentence and will receive credit for almost a year’s stay in the McHenry County Jail.
His guilty plea allowed him to escape a minimum of 12 years in prison for drug trafficking – a sentence that would be subject to Illinois Truth in Sentencing guidelines, requiring him to serve 85 percent of the term.
Park Ridge-based attorney Nicholas Giordano said he would have liked to see Soskin do even less time.
“We were hoping he would get more near the [minimum] of six years,” Giordano said.
Concluding three pending civil cases tied to cash and luxury items seized at the home, Soskin signed over the mortgage to his $800,000 Bull Valley property, about $35,400 that had been stored in multiple bank accounts and $42,990 in cash found at the home.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office also will keep 18 43- to 55-inch TVs, a travel trailer and a 1988 red Ford firetruck seized from the property.
State law requires profits from forfeited assets to be divided among the state’s attorney’s office and other arresting agencies.
The deal wasn’t a total loss for Soskin, however. He’ll get to keep a silver minivan gifted to him by his late mother, a trailer and three ATVs.
In exchange for Soskin’s guilty plea, additional criminal charges were dismissed, including seven counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.
On May 19, sheriff’s deputies searched the home at 1001 N. Cherry Valley Road, where Soskin and his fiancée, Jamie Lee, lived.
There, police found about 350 pounds of marijuana, worth about $3.2 million in a locked closet in the master bedroom.
Officers also found a .50-caliber machine gun, a Cobray M11 machine pistol with a suppressor, a shotgun and several boxes of ammunition at the mansion, records show.
After the weapons were examined by state and federal officials, Soskin was charged with possessing a .50-caliber machine gun, a Cobray M11 machine pistol, a 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun, a .25-caliber Stevens Arms 860 bolt-action rifle, a .45-caliber Connecticut Valley Arms black powder rifle, a .380-caliber Smith & Wesson Bodyguard semiautomatic pistol, a .38-special H. Weihrauch Mellrichstadt revolver and a .45-caliber Derringer double-barrel break action pistol as a previously convicted felon, according to the indictment.
Soskin was accused of bringing about 1,000 pounds of marijuana from California to Illinois over a 16-month period. He told authorities after he was arrested that he picked up about 500 pounds of marijuana from California in January 2016 and brought it to Illinois, according to court documents. He also said he made that same trip again and brought an additional 500 pounds of marijuana to his Bull Valley home.
Lee continues to face charges of marijuana trafficking and possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana.
From the courtroom gallery Thursday, Lee blew a kiss to a clean-shaven Soskin as he entered the room.
The couple had planned to have their wedding this summer at the 17,000-square-foot Bull Valley estate, which was appraised for $1.6 million.
Soskin and Lee bought the home through a trust; neither of their names appears on official paperwork regarding the sale, according to documents from the McHenry County Recorder’s Office.
Reportedly unemployed at the time, Soskin put down $400,000. He then took out a $450,000 mortgage with Medford Capital LLC, which claimed Soskin agreed the loan would be used for business only, and wouldn't be used for his private home.
Finalized paperwork detailing the division of Soskin’s assets is expected to be filed May 10. As of Thursday evening, McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Cahill and Medford attorney Christina Berish had not officially reached an agreement as to who would keep the proceeds if the home were sold. A final decision is expected to be announced at the May 10 court date.
The property suffered $56,000 worth of damage from a burst pipe in January, and attorneys argued over who would foot the bill to fix the home to prepare it to be put on the market.