Ex-assessor’s office clerk charged with stealing more than $100,000
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter August 23, 2013 12:52PM
Updated: September 25, 2013 6:08AM
A former clerk with the Cook County assessor’s office stole more than $100,000 in a financial scheme using phony government checks, prosecutors said.
Dionne Cooper, who is currently employed with the Harvey Park District, allegedly had the help of at least one other person in the scam that took place between October, 2009 to April 2012.
Cooper, a 16-year veteran at the assessor’s office, submitted and processed 100 fraudulent applications for refunds for overpaid property taxes, known as Certificates of Error, that were given to her by her cohort, prosecutors said.
The checks, which were issued by the Cook County Treasurer, were then mailed to Cooper’s partner-in-crime, and the two eventually split the $112,341.92 they swiped, prosecutors alleged.
Cooper, 43, left the assessor’s office in May of 2012 to work in Harvey.
Harvey Park District officials could not be reached for comment.
Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ office issued the following statement: “While this alleged behavior began under the prior administration (2009), we have and will continue to cooperate fully with the State’s Attorney Office.”
Cooper, of Hazel Crest, was ordered held on $25,000 bail and charged with theft of government property and official misconduct.
In 2007, she was sentenced to a year of court supervision for retail theft, according to court files.
Cooper is the mother of D.J. Cooper, an undrafted NBA free agent and former Seton Academy basketball star.
The Prairie-Hills Elementary School District 144 School Board website lists a Dionne Freeman-Cooper as the board secretary but an official with the district Friday said she could not confirm Cooper’s ties to the board.
Cooper’s cohort has not been charged, prosecutors said, adding that the joint investigation with the State’s Attorney’s Financial Crimes Unit and the Chicago Police Department continues.