FOX LAKE (FOX 32 / Sun-Times Media Wire) - FOX 32 News has learned that Melodie Gliniewicz, the wife of the late Fox Lake police officer Lt. Charles Joseph "GI Joe" Gliniewicz, was indicted Wednesday by a Lake County grand jury.
Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, was charged with four counts of misuse of charitable funds and two counts of money laundering. She turned herself into authorities Wednesday afternoon after an arrest warrant, with a bond of $50,000, was issued for her.
A tearful Melodie Gliniewicz did not let on to any of her husband's problems when he died last September. But prosecutors say she helped spend more than $10,000 that was supposed to go to the Youth Police Explorers Program in Fox Lake.
Joe Gliniewicz was found shot dead Sept. 1 after calling in a report that he had seen three suspicious subjects at an abandoned concrete plant in the far north suburb. The death sparked a massive manhunt, national media coverage and a hero’s funeral for the veteran officer dubbed “G.I. Joe” — combined with thousands of dollars donated in his honor to his family.
Investigators eventually determined that Gliniewicz committed suicide but staged it to look as if he were murdered, because he feared discovery of his stealing thousands of dollars from a youth police group he led. The money was actually spent on vacations, pornography and other expenses.
During the investigation, Melodie Gliniewicz was found to hold a fiduciary role as an adult advisor with the Fox Lake Explorer Post, according to the sheriff’s office.
READ MORE: Indictment against Melodie Gliniewicz
An attorney for Melodie Gliniewicz disputed the charges.
“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. Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her,” a statement from the Kelleher & Buckley law firm said.
“Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in Court to show the world her innocence. Melodie requests that the media respect her and her children’s privacy.”
After the suicide, Lake County Undersheriff Ray Rose organized a team of detectives who specialize in financial and computer crimes to analyze more than 10,000 pages of documents, including bank and business records.
They found some of the personal expenses paid from the police explorer account included a trip to Hawaii, payments to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Fox Lake Theatre and more than 400 restaurant charges, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Fox Lake, all of Lake County, and quite frankly the entire country have been through a mix of emotions throughout the Gliniewicz investigation,” Sheriff Mark Curran said in the statement. “It is my hope the community can continue healing and rebuilding.”
Prosecutors in Lake County obtained a court order in November, freezing many of the bank accounts held by Melodie Gliniewicz. After she complained that she needs funds for living expenses, some of the funds were released to her.
A hearing regarding the accounts was scheduled for February 2.
The village of Fox Lake also released a statement Wednesday regarding the indictment.
“The allegation that she participated in embezzlement scheme that victimized a youth organization, its members and, in effect, the entire Fox Lake community, is extremely disappointing,” according to the statement.
“While the village was not directly involved in the investigation into alleged embezzlement of the Fox Lake Explorers’ Program, it did assist investigators at every turn and it pledges its ongoing support to ensure that individuals responsible for any kind of criminal activity are held strictly accountable.”
Melodie Gliniewicz is accused of helping her late husband, Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, siphon money from a youth program. Authorities believe he killed himself because he feared discovery of the embezzlement.
Here is a timeline of events in the case:
- Tuesday, Sept. 1:
7:52 a.m. - Joseph Gliniewicz, who is on his way to work, radios to say he has spotted suspicious individuals and is checking them out.
7:55 a.m. - He radios again to say the three men - two white and one black - ran into a swampy area and he is pursuing. He asks for backup.
8:01 a.m. - Two more police officers arrive.
8:09 a.m. - Officers find Gliniewicz's body about 50 yards from his squad car.
- Wednesday, Sept. 2: Hundreds of people gather at a Fox Lake park for a vigil for Gliniewicz. Authorities use dogs and aircraft to search for suspects.
- Thursday, Sept. 3: Authorities use at least 100 investigators to broaden the hunt from the initial 2-square-mile perimeter.
- Friday, Sept. 4: $50,000 reward offered for capture and conviction of those suspected of killing Gliniewicz.
- Monday, Sept. 7: Hundreds of police officers from around the country attend Gliniewicz's funeral with a mile-long procession through Fox Lake.
- Tuesday, Sept. 8: The Lake County Major Crime Task Force holds a news conference to say a promising lead didn't pan out but that they are trying to identify DNA left at the crime scene.
- Wednesday, Sept. 9: The Lake County coroner says Gliniewicz died of a "single devastating" gunshot wound, but that it can't rule whether his death was a homicide, suicide or accident.
- Thursday, Sept. 10: Police leading the investigation call the coroner's release of Gliniewicz's cause of death inappropriate and potentially harmful.
- Saturday, Sept. 12: Former Chicago police officer Joseph A. Battaglia is charged with a felony for allegedly threatening the Lake County coroner and investigators unless they categorized Gliniewicz's death as a suicide.
- Wednesday, Sept. 16: Gliniewicz's son, Donald "D.J." Gliniewicz, says his father "never once had a single suicidal thought in his life."
- Monday, Sept. 21: Police say they received the results of gun residue and ballistics tests but that they don't support or exclude any theories in Gliniewicz's death.
- Thursday, Oct. 1: Police hold a news conference to say Gliniewicz was shot twice with his own weapon and there were signs of struggle at the scene.
- Wednesday, Oct. 13: A woman from a nearby community pleads not guilty to falsely telling police she saw suspects wanted in Gliniewicz's death.
- Wednesday, Nov. 4: Authorities say Gliniewicz elaborately staged his own death and had embezzled thousands of dollars over seven years from the Fox Lake Police Explorers youth program, which he oversaw. They say he spent the money on mortgage payments, travel and adult websites, among other things.
- Wednesday, Jan. 27: Gliniewicz's widow, Melodie, is indicted on charges of assisting her husband in siphoning money from the program, including money used for a trip to Hawaii. Her attorneys deny the accusations, saying she was "a victim of her husband's secret action."