A former employee of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association has been charged with stealing more than $8,000 from the organization, authorities said Wednesday.
Kurt P. Hinterkopf, 33, of West Chicago, was charged Tuesday with one felony count of theft for not returning money from sponsored events and activities to the Carol Stream-based special needs organization, according to Carol Stream police.
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Cmdr. Tom Miller said Hinterkopf worked as a program supervisor who would provide funds to trip coordinators for travel and activity expenses. At the conclusion of each outing, WDSRA workers would provide receipts and remaining money to Hinterkopf, who would often keep some of it for himself, Miller said.
"There would typically be money left over," Miller said. "The event leader would come back and turn the remaining monies back to him as supervisor. Then he'd turn the money back to his bosses. But he was skimming off of that (and) then lying about it."
"He was in a position of trust with a special needs organization," Miller said. "That's what makes it tough."
Sandy Gbur, executive director of WDSRA, said officials uncovered a series of "financial irregularities" after Hinterkopf left his job, when they began reviewing his old position.
"We got a little uncomfortable with the findings and turned it over to police," Gbur said.
Miller said Hinterkopf took "bits" of cash from hundreds of events over the course of the 4½ years he was employed with WDSRA.
The police investigation began a couple months ago, and included inspection of documents dating to 2008 and interviews with roughly 30 current or former WDSRA employees.
Police say Hinterkopf admitted to the thefts in a written confession.
WDSRA has since changed its practices of how money is spent during trips and activities, providing trip coordinators with credit cards instead of cash, officials said.
"It's easier to keep track of," Miller said.
Hinterkopf was being held at the DuPage County jail on $20,000 bail, of which he needs to post $2,000 bond to be released.
If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.