Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) filed a lawsuit against its former executive director Tuesday, in the hope that the ex-employee will be ordered to repay the $900,000 he allegedly embezzled.
The agency, responsble for solid waste management for 23 northern Illinois suburbs, is suing former executive Christopher Brooke Beal, , for a full recovery of funds he's been accused of taking to pay for higher education classes he never attended.
“We have said since day one that SWANCC would take every necessary step to recover funds that were embezzled from the Agency, from our member communities and their residents,” said Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen in a press release, who serves as SWANCC’s chairman of the Board of Directors. “Today’s action represents a significant, affirmative step in that direction. We owe nothing less to the residents who rely on the service we provide to 23 communities.”
Prosecuters are accusing Beal of creating fake tuition and seminar expense reports at such top-rated schools as Harvard University, Northwestern University and University of Chicago. According to prosecuters, there is no evidence of Beal's enrollment in any of these schools.
Beal, who began working for the agency in 1993, was suspended in October after an independent audit found evidence of the missing funds, which are said to have taken place between 2006 and 2010. A few days later, Beal resigned.
"The majority of the funds taken were towards the end, right before they discovered there were missing funds," SWANCC spokesperson Dave Bayless told Patch.
"The theft had been taking place over increasing amounts over that period so it became more apparent," Bayless said.
. However according to his attorney Thomas Breen, Beal plans on selling his Michigan home as "restitution to all who deserve it."
In March, SWANCC announced several new policies, including monthly executive committee reviews of all invoices, reimbursement requests, payroll, as well as an outsourcing of the agency's financial functions.
According to Bayless, SWANCC also expects to hire a new executive director this summer.
Stay tuned to Patch for more updates on Christopher Brook Beal's trial.