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Bolingbrook Man Guilty in Defrauding Case Found Dead Last Week

Jeremy Blackburn, the former president and CFO of Canopy Financial Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in a U.S. District Court in December 2010. He was found dead the day before he was scheduled to begin a 15-year prison sentence.

A man who was to begin a this month for his role in defrauding investors and clients of more than $93 million was found dead last week.

Jeremy Blackburn, the former president and CFO of Canopy Financial Inc., in a U.S. District Court in December 2010.

Lee County Sheriff John Varga said officers received a phone call March 19 to do a welfare check on Blackburn at a relative’s home at 1642 Old Mill Road in rural Franklin Grove.

Blackburn was found dead in a pick-up truck in a barn on the property, Varga said.

“We are still investigating but we don’t suspect any foul play,” he said.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Blackburn admitted to his role in a fraud scheme that cheated investors of approximately $75 million, while at the same time misappropriating more than $18 million from customer accounts intended for healthcare savings and expenses.

Canopy Financial developed and marketed software programs for banks and healthcare payers to administer and process payments involving health-related savings and spending amounts, the release said. The company had offices in Chicago, Plainsboro, NJ, and San Francisco.

Blackburn was to begin his sentence March 20.

A second defendant, Anthony Banas, 33, of Homer Glen, Canopy's chief technology officer, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in September 2010, the release says.

Banas reports for his 13-year prison sentence April 18.

According to the release, Blackburn, Banas and a third individual co-founded Canopy in 2004, which reportedly was one of the country's fastest-growing privately-held companies before it entered bankruptcy proceedings in November 2009.

After proposing to sell the company, the release says Blackburn then prepared false monthly operating reports inflating Canopy's revenue and distributed them to others knowing they would be used to solicit investors.

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