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Friday, June 21, 2019 02:28 pm

Cops call the cops

Fraud suspected at police charity

The Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation, a private nonprofit that’s helped fund the new downtown memorial park to fallen police officers, has frozen bank accounts and reported a suspected case of fraud to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to a posting on its Facebook page, the foundation’s bank contacted the organization on June 6 regarding possible fraud. There is concern about a money transfer, according to the post. “The person suspected of making the transfer has been removed from all access to any ISPHF accounts or facilities,” the post says. “The ISPHF is cooperating fully with all law enforcement agencies involved and will make the findings of any investigation known once it has been completed.”

Foundation president Ron Cooley said donations for the downtown park, which is nearly complete, are safe, but he revealed few details of the investigation and suspected fraud.

“It’s a mess, and we’re trying to get it sorted out,” Cooley said.

Cooley confirmed that the FBI has been notified. He said the foundation called the FBI due to the agency’s expertise in cyber crimes. He declined to say how much money might be missing.

“When we know more, everyone else will know more,” Cooley said. “But we are on top of it.”

Cooley confirmed that organization’s treasurer, who has held the position since 2014, is no longer serving in that role, but he would not say when she left the position. In addition to working for the charitable organization, she’s been employed by state police since 1989 and is a supervisor in the background investigation unit. She could not be reached for comment. State police refused to disclose her duty status, even though state law says that information bearing on the public duties of public employees is a matter of public record.

Illinois Times has asked the governor’s office whether the governor supports the agency’s refusal to say whether a public employee is reporting for work or is on leave.

In addition to raising money for the memorial park located next to state police headquarters, the foundation runs a police museum on Peoria Road. According to its most recent disclosure forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the foundation had $424,000 in revenue in 2017.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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