Man charged with $279K Aurora business theft surrenders, settles lawsuit
A DeKalb man accused of stealing $279,000 from a family business in Aurora in 2013 is free on bond after surrendering to authorities last week and has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against him.
Michael J. Leali, 57, of the 100 block of Holly Drive, is charged with felony theft of more than $100,000 but less than $500,000. He is accused of writing 136 checks to himself while working as the comptroller of the Area Construction Trades from Aug. 14, 2013 through Jan. 22, 2014, according to Aurora police and Kane County court records.
Aurora police have said Leali admitted the theft was because of a gambling addiction.
Leali turned himself in to authorities June 13, posted bond and was released the same day, according to the sheriff's office.
If convicted, he faces a sentence ranging from probation to up to 15 years in prison, along with restitution. He is next due in court July 24.
Leali's defense attorney, Liam Dixon, wants the charge dismissed on grounds it was filed after the three-year statute of limitations for felony theft had expired.
"It is questionable as to the timing of the charges and I plan to file a motion regarding that," Dixon said.
Leali's former employer, which also goes by the name of Metal Deck Supply, sued Leali in early 2019 in arguing its insurance company covered $250,000 of the $279,000 loss but that he was still responsible for $67,500.
The company argued auditors hired to determine damages billed the company $38,500. The $38,500, plus the $29,000 in losses not covered by insurance, make up the $67,500 total, according to the suit.
The two sides were due in Kane County court Tuesday, but the suit was dismissed last week "with prejudice," meaning it cannot be refiled again. According to court records, the two sides reached a settlement.
John Chitkowski, an attorney representing the business, did not return a phone message regarding the settlement. Craig Mielke, who defended Leali in the lawsuit, had no comment this week and had no comment on the lawsuit when contacted in late May.