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La Salle County auditor charged with theft of county funds

Jody L. Wilkinson
Jody L. Wilkinson

La Salle County Auditor Jody Wilkinson was charged Tuesday with stealing and misusing county money.

Wilkinson, 53, who lives near Lake Holiday in the northeastern corner of the county, was charged with one count of misapplication of government funds, two counts of theft of between $500 and $10,000 in government money and eight counts of official misconduct. All the charges stem from Oct. 24, 2016.

Wilkinson was booked at the county jail early Tuesday night, then posted $2,000 cash to be released on bond.

Details on the charges were not available Tuesday.

On Sept. 25, deputy auditors Tori L. Artman, 44, Mendota, and Pamela Wright, 54, Ottawa, were charged with taking $1,358.88 and $1,672.86 respectively for overtime work they did not do, between Oct. 24, 2016 and Aug. 7, 2017, according to prosecutors.

The charges against Artman and Wright said they conspired to commit a theft and “agreed with the county auditor, Jody Wilkinson, and other unknown as of yet co-conspirators, to the commission of that offense.”

The three women remained on the job until the county board voted Oct. 2 to ban them from the auditor’s office. On Oct. 17, Wilkinson, through her attorney, Patrick Herrmann, of Peru, filed court papers challenging the ban. The three women continue to draw pay.

Originally from Streator, Wilkinson is a Democrat, who has been auditor since 1996.

A few years ago, Wilkinson questioned the checks and balances on State’s Attorney Brian Towne’s drug forfeiture account.

Towne, who was defeated in the November 2016 election, was charged in September 2017 with official misconduct and misapplication of public funds. His case remains pending in court. Herrmann has also been one of Towne’s defense attorneys.

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