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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

Friday, September 26, 2014

Former Office Manager For Chatham Fire Protection District Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Funds

Springfield, Ill. – A former office manager for the Chatham Fire Protection District, Dawn D. Sanchez, 45, of Auburn, Ill., pled guilty today to using her position to take more than $50,000 from the district for her personal use. Sanchez waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to one count of mail fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Schanzle-Haskins.

As office manager, Sanchez had check-signing authority and control over the fire protection district’s bank account and credit and debit cards, and was responsible for paying the district’s business expenses. During her court appearance, and according to court documents, Sanchez admitted that from Jan. 1, 2009, to July 31, 2012, she fraudulently and repeatedly wrote CFPD checks to herself for payment of personal expenses of approximately $32,000 and used the CFPD credit and debit cards to purchase more than $15,000 in money orders that were cashed and deposited into her personal bank account. Sanchez admitted that the funds, estimated at $52,520, were used to pay various personal expenses including insurance, credit card payments, and repayment on a loan.

The investigation was conducted by agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Chatham Police Department with the full cooperation of the Chatham Fire Protection District. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass. 

Sanchez is currently on bond awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled on Jan. 26, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough.  

At sentencing, Sanchez faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and a term of supervised release of up to five years to follow any term of imprisonment. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution.

Updated June 22, 2015