By John Clark
A Chicago trader worth several millions of dollars was recently arrested for allegedly creating phony divorce papers in order to marry his girlfriend, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.
Sources say that Steve Fanady, a successful trader who works at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, was arrested by police in Northfield, Illinois, for allegedly forging the stamp of a Cook County judge and the signature of a divorce attorney.
According to prosecutors, Fanady, who legally changed his name from Sotirios Fanuda three years ago, used a forged divorce document to get an ecclesiastical divorce from the Greek Orthodox Church in August 2010.
Sources note that the Greek Orthodox Church requires its members to obtain an official religious annulment before marrying someone after a divorce, and Fanady apparently believed that a forged divorce was necessary to achieve this end.
The annulment went through without a hitch, and Fanady wed his new bride, Gina, during an elaborate ceremony in Greece, according to sources.
But at the time of the phony annulment, Fanady was still technically married to Pamela Harnack, who had filed for divorce from her husband in 2008 after five years of marriage.
Harnack’s divorce request, however, remained in limbo for several years due to a prolonged battle over money, according to sources. The divorce was not finalized until August 2011, or well after Fanady had already remarried.
Despite the allegations from prosecutors, Fanady claims he is innocent. According to his attorney, the allegations are “false” and arise from “lies” crafted by Harnack, a so-called “bitter Winnetka trust fund baby” and her father, who is purportedly “politically connected.”
Of course, it’s odd that Harnack retains such bitter feelings towards her former husband that she would be willing to falsely accuse him of faking a divorce.
Harnack, after all, reportedly received an alimony settlement that gave her 120,000 shares of stock in the Chicago Board Options Exchange, as well as $3 million in maintenance costs, according to sources.
Sources do note, however, that Harnack has yet to receive any of the money, despite a court order demanding that Fanady, who reportedly is worth more than $7 million, begin making payments.
Fanady, though, recently described himself as an “unemployed former trader,” and may not be as wealthy as he appears on paper, sources say.
So either Fanady truly forged the signature of a state judge, which would be a very serious offense, or his ex-wife has made the whole story up, which would also be a serious crime. Either way, one of the parties will soon be facing a pretty severe punishment.