Minooka man convicted of fraud ordered to pay $68.7 million restitution

The Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse is pictured in Chicago Monday as a federal trial of the former Commonwealth Edison lobbyists and one ex-executive continues. (Capitol News Illinois photos by Hannah Meisel)

A federal judge ordered a Minooka businessman to pay about $68.7 million to almost 380 payees as part of his restitution in a case where he was found guilty of committing wire fraud.

In an amended judgment on Jan. 31, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly set the restitution amount of $68.7 million for Ken Courtright as part of his sentence.

Courtright was found guilty last year of committing wire fraud through his company, Today’s Growth Consultant. Prosecutors said Courtright was operating a Ponzi scheme.

Courtright’s company, which does business as The Income Store, was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019.

The lawsuit led to legal troubles for Messiah Lutheran Church, Joliet Catholic Academy and other organizations that had to pay money back received from the company. An attorney had been appointed as a receiver for the company to claw back money for investors.

Courtright has until 2 p.m. on March 14 to report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to serve out his seven-and-half year prison sentence. Kennelly recommended Courtright serve his time at a minimum security prison camp in Escambia County, Florida, which is more than 200 miles west of Tallahassee.

“In view of the significant restitution obligation, the court recommends that [Courtright] be designated to [Federal Prison Camp] Pensacola due to the opportunity to be employed while incarcerated,” according to Kennelly’s court order.

Kennelly’s court order listed almost 380 payees who must receive restitution from Courtright. Not all of them are individuals. Courtright must pay about $120,000 in restitution to an organization called Cardiac Education Resources.

The highest restitution — about $3.3 million — must be given to a payee listed as “WB.”

Courtright has filed an appeal of his conviction of seven counts of wire fraud following a jury trial that concluded on July 7.

Prosecutors had previously alleged Courtright had caused at least 518 investors to lose $92.5 million, although that allegation had been contested by his defense attorneys.

Prosecutors cited numerous statements from Courtright’s victims of how his fraud had caused them pain and and long-term financial challenges.

“After I found out how [Courtright] was spending the investment money we, collectively, had provided on him, on lavish vacations, private school and other luxury experience for himself, I felt as if I couldn’t even trust my own instincts anymore,” according to one victim’s statement.