Melodie Gliniewicz has been indicted for her alleged involvement with her late husband’s money laundering and stealing of charitable funds.
Melodie Gliniewicz Indicted in Connection with Late Husband’s Money Laundering
Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, is the wife of late Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz. He killed himself last year in fear that his misappropriation of funds from a local youth outreach program would be discovered. His death set off a massive manhunt across the state of Illinois for three suspects. It was later revealed that the police officer had staged his own suicide.
Prosecutors are now alleging that Melodie took part in her husband’s misappropriation of funds from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post, a group that encourages youth in the community to explore careers in law enforcement and the military. Joe had headed the group since 1987, and Melodieheld “a fiduciary role as an adult adviser” for the group.
Melodie has been charged with six counts of money laundering and paying personal expenses with misappropriated funds between September 2008 and September 2015. It has been discovered that the fundswere used for personal expenses, including a trip to Hawaii and charges at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Fox Lake Theatre. According to the indictment the funds were used to pay over 400 restaurant bills.
Claiming Innocence of Money Laundering
Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorneys are claiming that the widow is a victim of her late husband’s secrecy. She is maintaining her innocence.
“Melodie has suffered greatly over the past few months and continues to move her family forward after the emotionally traumatizing events of September 1, 2015,” when her late husband killed himself, said the law firm representing her.
“Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her. Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in court to show the world her innocence,” the statement said.
Disgraced Hero in Money Laundering Case
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran spoke of how the shooting of Lt. Gliniewicz had caused people across the nation to deem the late Lt. a hero that had been killed in the line of duty. That was until authorities discovered that the officer had shot himself out of fear that his misappropriation of funds would be discovered.
Investigators eventually concluded that the suicide had been meticulously crafted to make it appear as if the three suspects had killed him.
“Fox Lake, all of Lake County, and quite frankly the entire country have been through a mix of emotions throughout the Gliniewicz investigations. It is my hope the community can continue healing and rebuilding,” said the sheriff in a statement.
A grand jury has indicted Melodie Gliniewicz on several classes of offenses: three Class 2 counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit, one Class 3 count of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit, one Class 2 count of money laundering, and one Class 3 count of money laundering. They are all considered felonies.
“The investigation revealed money was withdrawn from the police explorer account over the course of several years. Detectives determined this money was used to finance a number of personal expenses and personal finances,” said Lake County Undersheriff Ray Rose.
“This entire matter has been a sad and tragic saga for the Village of Fox Lake. My hope is that we will be able to close this unfortunate chapter and move forward with ensuring a professional and transparent police department dedicated to the citizens of Fox Lake,” Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said.
Text Messages Reveal the Truth About Money Laundering
Right before Joe Gliniewicz, 52, shot himself, he had radioed police dispatchers and told them he was in the process of chasing three male suspects at an abandoned cement factory.
When responding officers arrived at the scene they found Gliniewicz’s dead body.
Investigators concluded that the gunshot wounds that caused his death were self-inflicted after recovering text messages that he had deleted from his cell phone. According to authorities, 6,500 pages of texts were reclaimed.
Those text messages revealed an alleged embezzlement scheme in which Gliniewicz had taken charitable funds from the Explorer Post. The messages also revealed how frantic Gliniewicz had become when a new administrator at the organization had asked for an accounting report of the Explorer Post’s finances and property.
The Recipient of the Texts About Money Laundering
Among those texts was one from June 2015, in which Gliniewicz sent a text to “Individual #1” expressly stating that he had used “the exploder (sic) account” for a $624.70 flight. It was later revealed that “Individual #1” was his wife.
At the time this was revealed, Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorneys issued a news release stating: “Melodie respectfully requests that the community, law enforcement, pension board and press refrain from rushing to, or misplacing, judgment.”
There was also an “Individual #2” named in the case - his son, Donald Gliniewicz. In a June 2015 text, Joe Gliniewicz spoke about unidentified expenses of $1,600 and $777.
Joe Gliniewicz: “You are borrowing from that ‘other’ account, when you get back youll have to start dumping money into that account or you will be visiting me in JAIL!! The 1600 and the 777 all came from there. …”
In the same group of text messages that he sent to his son, it’s obvious that Joe Gliniewicz was becoming increasingly desperate. At the same time as the text messages were sent, it appears that he was thinking of applying for a police chief position in a nearby community.
Gliniewicz: “I’m sticking my neck out there with loaning you over $2377.00 to fix your truck specifically and only to help accommodate your summer leave, trip to OK.”
The text continues: “So if called on the carpet i can say, ‘we give our explorers and advisors loans from time to time if it is needed, and this is proof it is being pa(i)d back’(.) you get (where) I’m (coming) from? This village administrater (sic) hates me and the explorer program. This situation right here would give her the means to CRUCIFY ME (if) it were discovered. Compound this with “if” i was selected for chief of antioch (Illinois), i would be leaving here and would have to turn this account over to someone else. …”
It appears that Melodie Gliniewicz might have one defense: marital privilege. This might allow her to not have to testify against her deceased spouse.
There are two types of marital privilege: spousal testimonial privilege; and confidential marital communications privilege.
Spousal Testimonial Privilege
Spousal testimonial privilege applies when a spouse is called to testify against the other spouse in a criminal matter. A valid marriage must be present at the time the privilege is claimed. In this case, Melodie would not be able to use this privilege because her husband is deceased, and thus the marriage has been ended. In this case, her lawyers might decide to use the confidential marital communications privilege.
Confidential Marital Communications Privilege
Melodie might be able to claim the confidential marital communications privilege, so long as the following is in place:
- the spouses were legally married at the time of the communication
- both spouses have kept the communication confidential; and,
- the surviving spouse wishes to claim the privilege.
As long as the communication was kept confidential, Melodie could potentially use this as a way of barring her testimony. Where a defense attorney might have difficulty is the fact that text messages were also exchanged with the couple’s son. Therefore, the misappropriation of funds was shared with a third person.
This is an interesting case, and it will be up to the defense team to show that while Melodie might have been aware of the money laundering and misappropriation, she was not directly involved. This will be difficult as a result of her role in the youth program. It will of course be harder to prove because of the fact that her husband is deceased.
Being Charged with a Federal Crime of Money Laundering
Being investigated or charged with a crime by a federal agency is a sobering and often intimidating situation. The Federal Government can use an array of powerful investigative tools as well as having access to judicial assistance to build a case against you.
Federal prosecutors have the power to create a task force from various law enforcement agencies at all levels - federal, state and local- into a powerful prosecution team. Accordingly, federal prosecuting attorneys have the ability to bring tremendous resources against you, and they will not hesitate to do so.
Federal Crime Definition
Crimes are defined as federal crimes when they either cross state lines, involve a federal agency (e.g., the post office, federally insured banks, the SEC and HUD) or involve the Internet. The most common cases prosecuted at the Federal level include drug trafficking, bank robbery, and Internet pornography, but also white-collar offenses such as mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.
As with any criminal charge, you will want to follow all the legal rules and precautions you can, and the best way you can protect yourself is by working with an experienced defense attorney such as Sevens Legal Criminal Lawyers.
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