Suburban waste agency director stole $900K, gets 7 years
Updated: December 12, 2012 2:04PM
SKOKIE — The former executive director of a garbage collection agency that served more than 20 north and northwest suburbs was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday for stealing nearly $900,000 in agency funds.
Christopher Brooke Beal, 49, of Chicago, who had served as the executive director of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County since 1993, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property in excess of $100,000 and was sentenced to the seven years by Judge Lauren Gottainer-Edidin, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Beal began submitting falsified expense accounts in 2006 to reimburse his attendance at executive and graduate management classes at prestigious schools such as Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the University of Chicago, prosecutors said. But none of the schools had any record that Beal had ever enrolled or attended.
On top of his $160,000 annual salary, Beal used the reimbursements to pay for personal trips and membership at the University Club of Chicago, according to prosecutors. In total, he stole nearly $900,000.
In 2010, an audit of SWANCC funds found an increase in personal expenses, all of which were paid to Beal, the state’s attorney’s office said. When confronted, he presented a forged email from an agency official authorizing his transactions. The suspicious activity was reported to prosecutors and an investigation was started.
Though it’s not a taxing body, 23 north and northwest suburban municipalities fund SWANCC with tax dollars to coordinate trash pickup. Beal was charged in 2011 after an investigation by Cook County prosecutors working on Operation “Cookie Jar.”