The attorney for a Barrington High School administrator accused of stealing more than $5,000 from the school's fine arts department called the accusations "unfounded" after a brief hearing in Lake County court Wednesday.
Waukegan defense lawyer Douglas Roberts said he intends to prove that Julie Rachel Salk, 50, did not steal approximately $5,022 in theater ticket revenue from a musical at Barrington High School in March.
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"These charges are completely unfounded and we intend to prove that," Roberts said after Salk's court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
Salk, of Barrington, faces two felony theft charges alleging she stole ticket proceeds from a production of "Hello Dolly!" The charges followed an investigation and forensic audit into missing funds from the fine arts department at Barrington Unit District 220, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Marc Bangser said.
Bangser said Salk -- who was in charge of administering the Fine Arts Department's programs and events -- took home the cash box on the night of productions from the high school. He said she and her husband would remove high denomination bills to use as her "working cash fund" at home.
Bangser would not comment when asked whether Salk would cut a check back to the district to repay the money she took out of the cash box.
Salk initially was charged with a single count of theft between $500 and $10,000, but an additional charge of theft of government property was added during court proceedings Wednesday.
Theft of less than $10,000 is a Class 3 felony that could put Salk behind bars for up to five years if she is convicted. The theft of government property charge is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Salk remains free on bond after posting 10 percent of her $10,000 bail Tuesday. As part of her bond, she is not allowed to have any contact with District 220 property or administrators.
According to police, a district employee alerted school officials to suspicious financial management practices by Salk in April and school officials then notified police.
Salk was placed on administrative leave April 16 when the investigation began and retired during the first week of June, just before the end of the school year. She is not receiving benefits or severance pay from the district.
Prosecutors said Wednesday the district is "looking into" other possible thefts in the fine arts department, but would not say an investigation is officially continuing.
Salk is due back in court on Dec. 19 for a preliminary hearing.