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Justice News

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Former Winnebago County Purchasing Director Sally Claaasen Charged With Theft From Winnebago County

ROCKFORD — The former Winnebago County Purchasing Director was charged yesterday in federal court on two counts of theft from a program receiving federal funds.  SALLY A. CLAASSEN, 57, of Roscoe, Ill., was an employee of Winnebago County from March 3, 1997, until she resigned on Sept. 11, 2015.  Claassen’s job title prior to her resignation was Purchasing Director.  

According to the information filed, Claassen was an agent of Winnebago County, a local government that received federal funding.  As Purchasing Director, Claassen was responsible for receiving and reviewing invoices submitted by vendors to Winnebago County and submitting payments to vendors.  The information alleges that Claassen held a Winnebago County-issued credit card that she was authorized to use to make purchases for official Winnebago County business.  Claassen was required to submit invoices and supporting documentation to Winnebago County to demonstrate that items purchased were for Winnebago County business.  The information alleges that Claassen also had the ability to purchase items for Winnebago County by requesting that Winnebago County issue a check to a particular vendor.  Claassen was required to submit invoices and supporting documentation to Winnebago County to demonstrate that the requested check was to be used to purchase items for Winnebago County business. 

The information alleges that for each of the periods of Feb. 24, 2014 through December 31, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2015 through July 1, 2015, Claassen embezzled or stole at least $5,000  from Winnebago County.

The information also seeks forfeiture of all property constituting, and derived from, and traceable to, proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of defendant’s alleged violations including approximately $451,353, which includes approximately $292,525 in funds already seized by the United States.

Each count of theft from a program receiving federal funds carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from that offense, whichever is greater, and full restitution, as well as a period of supervised release following imprisonment of up to 5 years.  Claassen remains free on her own recognizance pending an initial appearance and entry of plea set before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala on June 1, 2016, at 10:30 a.m.

The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret J. Schneider.


Public Corruption
Updated May 26, 2016