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Article posted: 11/15/2012 3:31 PM

Former manager guilty of theft from disabled man at Warrenville group home

By Josh Stockinger

The former manager of a Warrenville group home pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing about $7,700 from a developmentally disabled man.

Linda Cottrell, 37, of the 800 block of Victory Lane in Justice, could be sentenced to probation or up to three to seven years in prison for financial exploitation of a disabled person.

Cottrell had access to a safe containing resident bank cards as house manager at Cupertino Home, a group home for developmentally disabled adults. Between 2008 and 2011, she used cards belonging to four residents to withdraw nearly $9,000 from ATMs, including $7,700 from a 43-year-old disabled man who told investigators he didn't know how to use the card, Assistant State's Attorney Diane Michalak said.

Cottrell was charged in October after a co-worker noticed discrepancies in the victims' bank accounts.

"There was video surveillance of her using the card at several locations for everyday living expenses," Michalak said.

Cottrell pleaded guilty within weeks of being charged because she wanted to resolve the case quickly and start making full restitution, Assistant Public Defender Jill Eckhaus said.

"She wanted to take responsibility," Eckhaus said. "She wants everyone to get their money back."

DuPage County Judge Kathryn Creswell set sentencing for Dec. 20.

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