Ex-boss gets 7 years for stealing $850,000 from suburban waste agency
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter December 12, 2012 1:42PM
Updated: December 13, 2012 1:28AM
Christopher Brooke Beal earned $160,000 a year running a north suburban agency that handled trash collections for 23 towns but grew bitter when his salary wasn’t raised after he rejected another job offer.
So Beal began to submit phony expense reports seeking reimbursements for management and government classes he never took.
“He felt that he had been had,” said his defense attorney, Thomas Breen.
“He was angry and he began to do this.”
On Wednesday, the 49-year-old Beal admitted using that scam to steal $850,000 from his former employer, the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County.
Beal, who had worked for the agency since 1993, was sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzling from the publicly funded group.
“It was a betrayal of our trust,” said Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, who serves as chairman of the agency.
Van Dusen said it’s unclear why Beal committed the thefts between 2006 and 2010, particularly since Beal — then the agency’s executive director — never complained about his contract.
“If he was dissatisfied, he never indicated that to me,” Van Dusen said,
Beal’s voice shook as he offered a brief apology before he was taken into custody, but he offered no explanation for his actions.
“I’m extremely remorseful,” he told Cook County Judge Lorraine Gottainer Edidin, lowering his head. “I’m deeply shamed.”
Beal used the stolen funds to buy a powerboat, improve a home he owned in Michigan and buy more expensive clothing and meals, Breen said. He gave some of the cash away to friends and has nothing to show for the thefts — not even his boat, which has been repossessed, Breen said.
“It did not make sense,” Breen said of the crime.
Beal is expected to serve about half of his prison term. He faced a maximum 30-year sentence.
Beal already has settled a federal lawsuit filed against him by the agency that will require him to repay the money he stole.