Thursday, January 5, 2017

School Administrator pleads not guilty in theft case

A former Webber Township School administrator has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she embezzled more than $100,000 from the school district.
Sabrina Wheatley, 55, made a first appearance in court Friday before Judge Jo Beth Weber. She faces felony charges of theft of government property in excess of $100,000, official misconduct, and two counts of income tax fraud. The most serious charge is the theft charge, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.
Defense attorney T.J. Parrish waived formal arraignment Friday and his client pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.
The charges were filed in late November by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan alleged that on two or more occasions, Wheatley illegally accessed the Webber Township School District's account for the purposes of stealing more than $100,000.
The embezzlement investigation began in early 2016 when Bluford Unit School District 318 reached out to former Jefferson County State's Attorney Doug Hoffman regarding discrepancies in the district's financial records. Hoffman looked into the matter and requested the Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Revenue open an investigation.
This investigation led to charges being filed against Wheatley. She was arrested Nov. 20 in Florida and later brought to Jefferson County to face the charges.
Wheatley has posted bond and is not currently in custody.
A follow-up status hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m. March 1. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Greg Stucka for Madigan's Special Prosecutions Bureau.

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