Second guilty plea received in Kendall food pantry theft

A second man has pleaded guilty to stealing money from the Kendall County Food Pantry.

William Crowley, formerly of Illinois and now of Scottsdale, Arizona, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to a reduced charge of theft of between $500 and $10,000.

The 78-year-old was sentenced to 24 months of probation and ordered to repay the pantry - reorganized as the Kendall County Community Food Pantry - $13,037. His lawyer told the judge that Crowley was prepared to pay immediately.

He also has to do 30 hours of community service.

Crowley and his son-in-law, Kenneth Spaeth, were indicted on theft charges in January 2017.

The executive director of the pantry was Maria Spaeth, Kenneth's wife and William's daughter. The Spaeths were unpaid volunteers, with Kenneth Spaeth serving as treasurer.

In spring 2016, volunteers complained to Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis and Yorkville police that the pantry was suspiciously low on money. A special prosecutor began investigating because Weis was on the pantry's board of directors.

Yorkville police searched the pantry and the Spaeths' Yorkville home in early June 2016, and the Spaeths quit the pantry.

Pantry officials at the time said as much as $200,000 may have gone missing.

Several weeks later, Maria Spaeth, 52, died of drug intoxication, having ingested a combination of the narcotic hydrocodone, the pain reliever acetaminophen and alprazolam, a central nervous system depressant often prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. A coroner ruled the manner of death "undetermined" after Kenneth Spaeth refused to be interviewed.

Spaeth, 56, pleaded guilty to theft in March and agreed to spend 24 months on probation, perform 30 hours of community service and repay the pantry $14,340.

He also has mortgaged two properties to the food pantry for a total of $175,000. Spaeth is to pay $25,000 a year, plus 2 percent annual interest, starting in January 2019 and ending in January 2026. Both mortgages were made in November 2017, recorder records show. One property is in Frankfort, and the other is in Newark.

The pantry's civil suit against Crowley remains. The pantry is seeking more than $25,000 in restitution for unauthorized credit card charges it says Crowley made.

The lawsuit says the late Maria Spaeth let her father use a pantry credit card to make personal purchases. Crowley bought items at stores, restaurants and gas stations here and in Arizona, it says.

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