Prospect Heights man accused of stealing money from church friends accepts plea deal
A Prospect Heights man pleaded guilty Monday to stealing about $12,000 from two people who thought he would help them refinance their mortgage.
Carlos R. Meza, 57, accepted an offer from the McHenry County state's attorney's office on Monday and pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft of more than $10,000.
McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge accepted the plea and sentenced Meza to one year of conditional discharge. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss an additional 17 counts of fraud, defrauding a financial institution and continuing a financial crime enterprise.
Meza's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
A McHenry County grand jury indicted Meza in December 2016 on multiple charges stemming from allegations that he stole money under the guise of helping two people he met at church in 2001.
The pair thought that Meza, formerly of Lake in the Hills, was assisting them in refinancing their mortgage in 2013 and 2014, according to charging documents.
Prosecutors filed additional charges in 2019, alleging that Meza had his friends write checks out to other people, then forged signatures and deposited those checks into accounts that he owned at his bank.
Meza's history includes a 2014 conviction of misdemeanor theft out of Cook County. He also was sentenced in 2019 to 19 months in prison in connection with a federal wire fraud case related to the McHenry County allegations.