A perennial Lake County political candidate faces up to 15 years in prison after being convicted Wednesday of stealing thousands of dollars from his elderly mother.
In a negotiation with prosecutors, Steven Skinner, 51, admitted there was enough evidence to convict him of felony theft during a hearing before Lake County Circuit Judge Fred Foreman.
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Skinner, of the 39000 block of North Woodside Avenue in Antioch Township, did not change his plea of not guilty he entered shortly after he was charged in April 2009. Instead, he acknowledged a judge or jury would likely find him guilty of taking $186,000 from his mother's bank accounts between 2004 and 2008.
In exchange for the admission, Assistant State's Attorney Scott Hoffert agreed he would recommend Skinner not be sent to prison for the crime, but Foreman is free to impose a sentence of four to 15 years behind bars after a sentencing hearing.
The parties agreed to return to court Nov. 9 to schedule a sentencing hearing.
Hoffert said Skinner took over his mother's finances in 2004, and wrote a series of checks to pay his personal expenses and purchase a $137,000 house.
A relative discovered the theft and called the Lake County state's attorney's office, which investigated the case.
Skinner was elected to the Round Lake Area Public Library District board in 2004, but has been on the losing end of most elections he has entered.
He has campaigned unsuccessfully for the state house of representatives, mayor of Antioch and twice for the county board.
Skinner was freed from custody when he posted $5,000 for bond shortly after his arrest.