CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–January 26, 2011. Bond was set at $300,000 today for a Gold Coast woman charged with looting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a student scholarship fund offered by a prominent Chicago civic club, according to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Christina Madej, 58, a manager at an Oak Street art gallery, has been charged with one count of Theft in excess of $100,000, a class one felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.
The defendant was arrested Tuesday and appeared in bond court today at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building where Judge Jackie Portman set the $300,000 bond.
According to prosecutors, the funds were taken from the Chicago Engineer’s Foundation, a philanthropic organization that operates through the Union League Club of Chicago. The foundation offers scholarships to high school students interested in pursuing engineering as a profession.
Madej, who served as Executive Director of the Chicago Engineer’s Foundation since 1992, was responsible for paying out funds to scholarship recipients as well as preparing the budget and maintaining all of the foundations records. She was permitted to use organizational funds to cover expenses such as postage, telephones, and computers. Madej was paid $3,000 a year to defray any costs she may have incurred personally while running the foundation.
In 1999, the defendant is alleged to have begun diverting the foundation’s funds by writing checks payable to her for bogus expenses. She is alleged to have done this 252 times until the thefts were discovered in May of 2010. The defendant is alleged to have done this while also holding down a full time job at a Chicago art gallery.
In total the defendant’s thefts are alleged to have cost the foundation $289, 901.
The public is reminded that charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial where the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.