Sep 21, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
(CHICAGO TRIBUNE) A south suburban man has been charged in connection with the theft of two checks totaling more than $50,000 from President Barack Obama’s national campaign headquarters in Chicago, authorities say.
Willard Elam, 48, of the 15500 block of South Drexel Avenue in Dolton, is charged with one count of continuing a financial crimes enterprise, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Police said one other man was in custody and they were seeking a third person, but state’s attorney spokesman Andy Conklin would only say the investigation was continuing.
The checks were stolen from where the campaign headquarters is located in the Prudential Plaza building at 130 E. Randolph St., apparently last week, according to police. The checks were made out to legitimate businesses, but the suspects deposited them in phony accounts they had set up under the names of those companies, authorities said.
On Sept. 13, Elam entered the TCF Bank in South Holland and used his own identification to set up one of the phony accounts and deposit a check from the campaign for $23,839.80, according to the police report.
The day before, the person still at large opened a phony account at a TCF Bank in Dolton, also using his own identification, and deposited the second check taken from the campaign. It was not known how much it was for.
Elam is expected in bond court on Saturday, said Conklin.
Ben Finkenbinder, the Midwest press secretary for the Obama campaign, said: “Three checks we sent to vendors made it into the wrong hands, and after learning of this we notified the police. We’re pleased that they’re dealing with the issue swiftly, and don’t expect this to have any impact upon the campaign.”
An Obama campaign official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the checks were not taken from the campaign’s offices, but were taken from the building housing the campaign headquarters.