Man charged in $279K Aurora business theft wants charges dismissed
A man charged with a $279,000 theft from an Aurora construction business is arguing the charges were filed after the statute of limitations expired and the case should be dismissed.
Michael J. Leali, 57, of the 100 block of Holly Street, DeKalb, was charged over the summer with felony theft of $100,000 to $500,000 as authorities say he wrote 136 checks from Area Construction Trades to himself from Aug. 14, 2013, through Jan. 22, 2014.
Leali worked as comptroller for the company, which does business as Metal Deck Supply, from April 2011 through Feb. 3, 2014.
According to Aurora police, Leali told his secretary in fall 2013 there might be some unauthorized charges on a company credit card, but he would take care of it.
In January 2014, the company owner confronted him about unauthorized credit card charges, but Leali blamed it on his children, police said. The owner investigated further and discovered the theft, authorities say.
Defense attorney Liam Dixon argues the case against his client should be dismissed because charges were filed five years later, beyond the statute of limitations.
Dixon noted that an insurance company repaid $250,000 of the missing money and the $29,000 balance Leali is responsible for does not rise to the threshold that would extend the statute of limitations beyond three years.
"The alleged victim, Area Construction, entered into an agreement through their insurance company with the defendant," read part of Dixon's motion to dismiss the charges. "At the time of the agreement, an officer of the victim corporation, was notified they would be precluded from claiming that money in any subsequent litigation. Subsequent to that conversation with the Aurora Police Department, the amount claimed as a loss was only $29,000."
Kane County Judge Charles Petersen is expected to hear arguments on Jan. 15; if convicted, Leali faces a sentence ranging from probation to up to 15 years in prison. He appeared in court briefly Wednesday and is free on bail.