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Feds: Ex-Burnham village clerk stole $650,000 for casino runs

Updated: June 8, 2014 6:25AM



A south suburban elected official who allegedly stole more than $650,000 from taxpayers and spent it at casinos has agreed to plead guilty, federal prosecutors say.

Former Burnham Village Clerk Nancy Dobrowski — who served from 1980 until 2013 — stole the cash over a decade, according to a criminal information filed Tuesday.

As part of the fraud, Dobrowski, 70, allegedly took cash from both the village cash register and village towing fees. She understated how much money that the village had collected and used the money at casinos in Indiana, it’s alleged.

She resigned in June last year when the FBI raided the village hall in the sleepy town of 4,500.

A number of Burnham municipal employees had previously expressed concern to the Better Government Association that taxpayer money might be missing. Their concern was rooted in irregularities that began to sprout up on pay stubs and pension statements.

Money that was supposed to be in retirement accounts wasn’t there — at least as reflected on statements, the BGA reported last year. Some paychecks were arriving months late, and automatic payments set up through the village were also taking months to go through.

One worker once got two pay stubs for the same pay period, each showing different amounts. Union dues were deducted on one, but not the other. Another employee said he fell behind in child support payments, even though the money had been taken out of his checks. And as the wife of one Burnham municipal worker found out, insurance premiums weren’t always being paid to the insurance carrier.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told the BGA how she ended up in the emergency room only to find her health insurance had been canceled due to lack of payment — though premiums were supposed to be automatically deducted from her husband’s check and forwarded to the insurer.

If Dobrowski pleads guilty, as prosecutors say she will, she faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1.3 million fine.

Contributing: Katie Drews. Better Government Association



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