Ex-Lake Co. exec charged in $2.5 mil embezzlement
The former president and chief financial officer of a Lincolnshire publishing company is charged with stealing $2.5 million from the company.
Ian Gittlitz, 58, of Stony Brook, N.Y., is held in the Lake County jail on $2 million bond. Gittlitz was arrested Sunday at the Housewares Show in McCormick Place, where police said he was acting as a buyer.
Lincolnshire detective John-Erik Anderson said the allegations against Gittlitz date back to when he worked for ICD Publications, which publishes trade magazines. Gittlitz started working with the company in the late 1980s.
In 2007, Anderson said, company officials noticed some discrepancies in expense reports and ordered a forensic audit of the company books from 2000 through 2007.
Anderson said auditors discovered $2.5 million was missing and traced the money to three schemes Gittlitz used to manipulate accounting.
Gittlitz had been filing his own expense reports twice, Anderson said, and had also been forging the expense reports of others as his own.
In addition, Anderson said, Gittlitz wrote several unauthorized checks to himself during that same period.
ICD attorney Mary Clark said Gittlitz was fired in 2007 and made some admissions about the thefts to company officials, who are now suing him in Cook County court.
"Company officials contacted the authorities as soon as it became clear what had happened," Clark said. "They have been cooperating fully with the police investigation and will continue to do so."
Gittlitz appeared Monday before Associate Judge Raymond Collins, who ordered a bond review hearing for Wednesday afternoon.
His attorney, Eric Bell of Chicago, declined to comment after the court appearance.
In addition to his home in New York, Anderson said Gittlitz owns properties in Florida and California, and at least eight motor vehicles.
If convicted of the felony theft charges against him, Gittlitz would face a mandatory prison sentence of four to 15 years.
Accused: Ex-CFO forged expense reports, police say