August 30, 2013

Trial Begins for Man who Attempted to Hire Hitman to Kill Debt Collector

A suburban Chicago businessman is on trial for attempting to hire a hitman to eliminate a commercial debt collector that had just won an $8.2 million judgment against him for unpaid aircraft loan guarantees.

The trial of Daniel Dvorkin began Monday in a federal courthouse in Chicago. Dvorkin, 74, is the owner of Dan Development Limited, with offices located at 1 Trans Am Plaza in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. Two affiliated companies took out more than $9 million in loans to purchase used aircraft. Dvorkin personally guaranteed the loans.

After defaulting on the loans, the debts were sold to commercial debt collector Texas 1845, LLC, which in 2010 sued Dvorkin to recover the debt. A circuit court awarded Texas 1845 an $8.2 million judgment in the case.

Shortly thereafter, Dvorkin allegedly approached a gun shop owner and commented that he’d like for the debt collector that won the judgment to “stop breathing.” The gun shop owner said he might know a man in Florida that could help, but contacted the FBI instead and began wearing a wire to record their conversations.

The hit ultimately did not get to the point of action, as Dvorkin allegedly said that he found someone else to do the job cheaper. The FBI arrested him in July 2012 and charged him with one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence, namely, murder-for-hire.

Dvorkin’s attorney Monday said that the entire matter was a fairly elaborate misunderstanding. Dvorkin claims that his “stop breathing” comment was in jest and that he actually got concerned when the gun shop owner took him seriously, eventually leading to his claim that he had another hitman.

While Dvorkin was in custody, his appeal of the debt collection suit was heard in Illinois Appellate Court. The court sided with the debt collector and lower court and affirmed the $8.2 million judgment.