A former Elgin deputy police chief was indicted and arrested Tuesday on charges of identity theft and official misconduct.
Robert Beeter, 51, of Elgin was arrested at his job as Stockton police chief in western Illinois after a Kane County grand jury indicted him on 16 counts of identity theft and four counts of misconduct, prosecutors said.
Beeter is accused of hacking into an email to help his mistress in her divorce and improperly using the department's record system.
If convicted, he faces probation to five years in prison. In a special meeting Tuesday evening, the Stockton village board placed Beeter on paid leave pending further investigation, according to an email from police spokesman Don Powers.
“Some sort of justice had to be served and I held my breath for 2½ years. Today's the day,” said Debra Seitz, a Wasco real estate agent whose email Beeter is accused of hacking.
Beeter, then a deputy chief in Elgin, was suspended in summer 2010 after having an affair with a co-worker, Tamara Welter, who was and still is a sergeant at the department. Tamara Welter, whose husband, Greg, also was a lieutenant with Elgin police at the time, also was suspended. The Welters ended up getting a divorce.
Seitz and Greg Welter were real estate business partners at the time and Seitz said she became suspicious when Tamara Welter started using confidential business information against Greg Welter in the divorce case.
Greg Welter eventually resigned from the department, and Beeter accepted a buyout from the city in early 2012 as the city looked to cut costs.
Seitz said she and Greg Welter went to authorities at all levels in an effort to prompt an investigation. They filed a federal wiretapping lawsuit so their attorney could get more information. Finally, after pestering Kane County prosecutors to no end, Elgin police opened an investigation, leading to the indictments.
“We just knew something was wrong. We couldn't get anyone to help us,” Seitz said. “Thank God for Kane County. Otherwise he would have walked away untarnished had we not pushed the envelope to the limit.”
According to the indictment, Beeter, without lawful authority, used personal identification information to access the email account of a person he knew on several occasions between Aug. 11, 2010, and April 12, 2011.
Also, prosecutors said, four times between June 8, 2010, and June 25, 2010, Beeter accessed the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System to gain information on a specific individual for his personal use.
Misuse of LEADS is a violation of the Illinois Criminal Identification Act, and a violation of the Illinois Administrative Rules for Department of State Police Law Enforcement Agencies Data System, prosecutors said.
All allegations of official misconduct took place when Beeter was serving as a deputy chief of the Elgin Police Department, prosecutors said.
“Whenever an officer is alleged to have abused their authority, no matter what rank and no matter when it occurred, we will investigate it fully and take the appropriate action,” Elgin Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda said in a prepared statement.
Greg Welter unsuccessfully sued the city last year, arguing he was forced to resign in 2010 after allegations that he also used the LEADS system to run a license plate for Seitz.
“I'm happy for my business partner (Greg Welter), who was forced to retire — wrongfully — from the (police) force because of an email that was wrongfully taken from my email,” Seitz said. “Karma is funny. I totally believe in it. It's been a crazy trip. And yes, we still have the civil complaint.”
Both sides are due in federal court in Chicago on May 28.
Jo Daviess County sheriff's deputies arrested Beeter at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, Kane prosecutors said. Bail was set at $25,000 and Beeter posted $2,500 and was released while his case is pending.
He is next due in court on June 12.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.