Melodie Gliniewicz, the widow of former Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge, avoiding a trial in her case that has spanned over six years.
Melodie Gliniewicz, 57, of the 38500 block of North Lakeside Place in Antioch, was charged in 2016 with multiple charges, including unlawful use of charitable funds and money laundering.
Gliniewicz and her late husband, Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, allegedly stole thousands of dollars from the Fox Lake Police Department’s Explorer Post for personal expenses from September 2009 through 2015, court records show.
Joe Gliniewicz was found fatally shot in September 2015 after he staged his suicide, prompting a massive manhunt.
Investigators said Joe Gliniewicz feared he was soon going to be caught for misusing the explorer post’s funds.
Gliniewicz’s attorneys and prosecutors met Friday morning at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan for a hearing in her case.
Gliniewicz pleaded guilty to Friday to one count of deceptive practice, a Class 4 felony.
In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors have dismissed all of her other charges.
“We are very pleased that Ms. Gliniewicz is taking legal responsibility for her actions. She deceived the Fox Lake Police Explorer Club and misused their funds. Our lawyers did an excellent job of reaching this negotiation as it foregoes the need for a trial and starts to end a long chapter in this story,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
“The public will be able to learn more about her and her husband’s actions through a public sentencing hearing, at which each side can argue for the appropriate sentence. Her guilt is established, which is the goal of the trial,” Rinehart said.
Prosecutors said in court that the deceptive practices count allows the judge to give Gliniewicz a sentence of conditional discharge, probation or prison.
Lake County Judge James Booras said that the prosecution will be allowed to offer aggravating evidence while the defense presents mitigating evidence at the sentencing hearing.
The original indictments against Gliniewicz carried concurrent sentences, meaning any probation or prison time would have been served concurrently had she been found guilty of more than one count.
Prosecutors said that they had consulted “extensively” with the sheriff’s office and attorneys for the Village of Fox Lake.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 12, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A jury trial, which was scheduled for February 22, has been canceled following Gliniewicz’s guilty plea.