CPA and tax preparer Jeffrey B. Travis has pleaded guilty to bank fraud involving a scheme to defraud US Bankcorp and five of his clients of more than $1.8 million.

Travis, who does business as Gross & Travis Ltd., and Travis and Associates Inc., with offices in Deerfield, Ill., admitted that he engaged in the fraud from at least May 2002 until December 2008. He prepared checks payable from his clients to vendors, retirement programs and tax authorities. But instead of delivering the funds to the payees intended by his clients, prosecutors claimed, he deposited hundreds of such checks without authority into accounts he controlled at US Bank, at times altering the checks to increase the amounts paid.

He then withdrew the money from those accounts and diverted the funds, gathering more than $1.8 million over the course of the scheme for his own use. Bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and mandatory restitution.

Travis, 51, is free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2013. As a condition of his bond, Travis must notify his clients of the charge against him.

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