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posted: 2/28/2013 4:41 PM

Plea deal offered to Antioch Rescue Squad treasurer in theft case

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  • John W. Edgell

      John W. Edgell

 
 

The former treasurer of the Antioch Rescue Squad has been offered a plea deal that would force him to pay more than $20,000 to the agency from which he's accused of stealing money.

John W. Edgell, 54, is considering whether to accept the deal offered by the Lake County prosecutors that would keep him out of jail on charges of theft of more than $500, defense attorney Cynthia Pruim-Haran said Thursday.

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Under the deal, Edgell would pay more than $20,000 in restitution, be placed on probation for two years and not allowed to have contact with the ARS, Pruin-Haran said.

Edgell, of the 40000 block of Deep Lake Road, is due in court March 26 where the deal will be discussed, Pruim-Haran said.

He was arrested Oct. 19, 2012, following an Antioch Police Department investigation into the ARS finances. He was freed from custody after posting 10 percent of his $2,000 bond.

Edgell was the rescue squad's treasurer for 10 years until he resigned just before his arrest in October.

He was initially accused of stealing $12,618.12 from the ARS, but that amount has grown during the investigation, authorities said.

Theft over $500 is a felony punishable by three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Edgell's arrest was among the problems rescue squad officials faced last year.

Trouble started in May when a lawsuit surfaced that accused rescue squad leaders and members of the department of sexually harassing three female squad members. Two of the women have settled out of court for $155,000.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also investigated ARS over unprofessional behavior involving squad members. Allegations included mistreatment of patients, allowing employees to begin their shifts within hours of excessively drinking alcohol, and slipping medication in the food and drinks of fellow squad members.

The state later fined the squad $15,000.

The issues led to the resignation and retirement of former chief Wayne Sobczak and former ARS President Steve Smouse.

Since then, the ARS board of directors has reorganized. Brian Dekind was named chief in December and Tom Thommes was named president in January.

"We have taken the necessary steps to reorganize," Dekind said. "I have complete confidence in the new administration and look forward to its future."

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