Gliniewicz widow told investigators Explorers money 'always' paid back
Melodie Gliniewicz told investigators that money earmarked for the Fox Lake Police Explorers program was used to help the family get caught up on bills when needed but claimed she would "always pay them back," a Lake County prosecutor said Wednesday.
The remarks came as a court hearing got underway on Gliniewicz's request that a judge throw out charges alleging she took part in her husband's scheme to steal thousands of dollars from the youth program.
Her husband, Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, committed suicide in September 2015, staging it to look like he was killed in the line of duty in hopes it would prevent disclosure of this thefts.
Melodie Gliniewicz, 52, of Antioch Township has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, unlawful use of charitable funds for personal gain and money laundering. If found guilty after a trial scheduled to begin May 30, she faces up to 7 years in prison.
Her attorney, Don Morrison, said Wednesday she would hear about the money taken from the Explorers account only after her husband would use it to pay a bill. She would then reimburse the account with family money, he said.
"She told investigators that 'he' would use the (Explorer credit) card, then 'we' would pay it back," Morrison said. "The state is charging her for paying it back."
Morrison has routinely argued the charges against Melodie Gliniewicz are unconstitutionally vague and the state should not be allowed to prosecute her for crimes committed by her husband.
However, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Scott Turk said she knew about her husband's unlawful use of the police explorer account. In court Wednesday, prosecutors described Melodie Gliniewicz as the "chairman" of the Fox Lake Explorer post.
Turk said she used Explorer money to pay for a trip to Hawaii, then reimbursed the group when she returned home.
However, Morrison said Charles Gliniewicz pulled money out of his retirement fund to cover the trip and repay some student loans. He placed the retirement money in the Explorer account because he did not have a personal bank account, Morrison said.
The defense also has argued the charges should be dropped because Charles Gliniewicz was the only person in control of Explorer post bank accounts.
Called as defense witnesses late Wednesday, Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Keith Kaiser and FBI forensic accountant Margaret Skiva testified there is no evidence Melodie Gliniewicz was directly involved in any transactions involving the Explorer account between September 2008 and March 27, 2015.