Widow of disgraced Fox Lake officer pleads not guilty
Melodie Gliniewicz pleaded not guilty Wednesday to various financial crimes connected to her late-husband's embezzlement of funds from a Fox Lake youth group.
The widow of disgraced Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz faces three counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority for personal benefit or use, and two counts of money laundering. Lake County prosecutors dropped one count of disbursing charitable funds without authority for personal benefit or use in court Wednesday.
The 51-year-old Antioch resident faces up to 7 years in prison if found guilty at trial.
Neither Melodie Gliniewicz nor her defense attorney, Don Morrison, commented after leaving the Lake County government center in Waukegan. They also did not comment to reporters as they walked to Morrison's law office.
Assistant State's Attorney Ken LaRue said he could not comment when asked about the case outside of the courtroom.
The charges are related to an investigation that began in November into the finances surrounding the Fox Lake Law Enforcement Explorer Post 300, authorities said.
During Wednesday's arraignment hearing, Judge George Strickland read each count, and said Melodie Gliniewicz is accused of disbursing charitable funds to herself and Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz. The funds were earmarked for Explorer Post 300. Strickland said the amount was in excess of $1,000 and occurred over a three-year period.
The two counts of money laundering were because the couple was accused of disguising the source of the funds, Strickland said. The amount involved is more than $10,000, but less than $100,000, he said.
Morrison entered the not guilty plea on behalf of Melodie Gliniewicz, who did not speak during the hearing.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigators found inconsistencies in financial documents involving Joe Gliniewicz while investigating his September death, authorities have said. Task force officials determined he killed himself and staged the death as a homicide to cover up the embezzlement.
Joe Gliniewicz oversaw the Explorers for more than two decades, authorities said, and his wife held a fiduciary role in the group as an adult adviser.
Task force investigation showed nonbusiness-related funds had been withdrawn and money laundering had occurred, authorities have said. Some personal expenses paid from the account included a trip to Hawaii, many coffee shop purchases, tickets for the Fox Lake Theatre, and more than 400 restaurant charges, authorities have said.
Attorneys for Melodie Gliniewicz previously denied any wrongdoing or "money laundering."
Strickland did not set a trial date, but set a pretrial hearing for Feb. 26.