Harvey Park District employee charged in county fraud scheme

2013-08-23T22:15:00Z 2013-08-23T23:43:10Z Harvey Park District employee charged in county fraud schemeTimes Staff nwitimes.com
August 23, 2013 10:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | A former clerk in the Cook County assessor's office who now works for the Harvey Park District has been charged with theft after allegedly stealing more than $100,000 through fraudulent county checks.

Dionne Cooper, 43, of Hazel Crest, was charged with theft of government property, a Class X felony, and official misconduct, a Class 3 felony, for her alleged role in the theft of funds from Cook County government, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office.

She appeared in bond court Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, where bond was set at $25,000.

According to prosecutors, Cooper worked as a clerk for 16 years in the assessor's office processing applications for refunds for overpaid property taxes, known as "Certificate of Error" refunds.

From October 2009 to April 2012, Cooper allegedly used her position as a clerk to submit approximately 100 fraudulent Certificate of Error applications given to her by a co-conspirator. Cooper processed the fraudulent applications, and the Cook County treasurer issued the Certificate of Error refund checks.

The checks were mailed to the co-conspirator, who cashed them and shared a portion with Cooper, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Cooper stole $112,341.92. She left the assessor's office in May 2012 to work at the Harvey Park District, where she is currently employed, the Cook County state's attorney's office said in a release issued Friday.

An administrator with the Harvey Park District could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cooper's next court date is Sept. 12.

The investigation, which is continuing, was conducted jointly by the Cook County state's attorney's Financial Crimes Unit and the Chicago Police Department.

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